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Isabel Zucker 
class '26 


Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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' Then took he up his garland, 
And did shew what every flower did signify." 

Philaster. Beaumont and Fletchbe. 





Eliza Cook 







^HE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS has probably called 
forth as many treatises in explanation of its few and 
simple rules as has any other mode of communicating ideas ; 
but I flatter myself that this book will be found to be the 
most complete work on the subject ever published — at least, 
in this country. I have thoroughly sifted, condensed, and 
augmented the productions of my many predecessors, and 
have endeavoured to render the present volume in every re- 
spect worthy the attention of the countless votaries which 
this " science of sweet things " attracts ; and, although I dare 
not boast that I have exhausted the subject, I may certainly 
affirm that followers will find little left to glean in the paths 
that I have traversed. As I have made use of the numerous 
anecdotes, legends, and poetical allusions herein contained, so 

vi Preface. 

have I acknowledged the sources whence they came. It there- 
fore only remains for me to take leave of my readers, with the 
hope that they will pardon my having detained them so long 
over a work of this description ; but 

" Unheeded flew the hours, 
For softly falls the foot of Time 
That only treads on flowers.'' 



Introduction . 
The Rose (Love) . 4 
Hawthorn (Hope) . 
Myrtle (Love) 
Jasmine (Amiability) 
Vervain (You enchant me) 
Orange-blossom (Chastity) 
Camphire (Artifice) . 
Anemone (Withered hopes. Forsaken) 
Periwinkle (Tender recollections) . 
Weei'inc Willow (Mourning) 
Asphodel (I will be faithful unto death) 
Aloe (Bitterness) 
Mezereon (Coquetry) 
Sensitive Plant (Bashful love) 
BuTTERCUPs(Riches. Memories of Child- 
hood) ... . . 
Crocus (Cheerfulness) 
Eglantine (Poetry) 
Heliotrope (Devoted attachment). 
Lilac (Love's first emotions) . 
Magnolia (Magnificence) 
Judas Flower (Unbelief) 
Dandelion (Oracle) 
Campanula (I will be ever constant) 
Hyacinth (Game. Play) 
Marvgold (Grief) .... 
Aster (After-thought> 








Tuberose (Dangerous pleasures) 

Broom (Humility) . 

Poppy (Consolation. Oblivion) 

Pink (Pure love) 

Furze (Anger) .... 

Geranium (Deceit) . 

Fuchsia (Taste) 

Almond-tree (Indiscretion) , 

Flos Adonis (Painful recollections) 

Arbutus (Thee only do I love) 

Snowdrop (Friend in need. Hope.) 

Cowslip (Youthful beauty) 

Celandine (Deceptive hopes). 

Dead Leaves (Melancholy) . 

Heart's-ease (Think of me. Thoughts) 

Basil (Hatred). 


Apple-blossom (Preference) . 

Acanthus (The Arts) 

Evening Primrose (Silent love) 

Thyme (Activity) 

Cypress (Mourning). 

St. John's Wort (Superstition] 

Marvel of Peru (Timidity) 

Rosemary (Remembrance) 

Corn (Abundance) . 

Tulip (A declaration of love) 

Sycamore (Curiosity) 





Hollyhock (Ambition) , . . .213 

Lotos (Eloquence) .... 215 

Juniper (Protection) .... 220 

Camellia Japonic A (Supreme loveliness) 222 

Polyanthus (Confidence) . . 224 

Holly (Foresight) 226 

Foxglove (Insincerity) .... 231 

Pimpernel (Chang.-) .... 233 

Clover (I promise) 235 

Acacia (Friendship) .... 237 

Heath (Solitude) 239 

Clematis (Artifice) 242 

Amaranth (Immortality) , . . 244 

Mandrake (Rarity) .... 247 

Speedwell (Fidelity) .... 249 

Narcissus (Self-love) , . . 251 

Daffodil (Unrequited love) . . . 252 

Iris (A message) ... . 254 

Violet (Modesty) 256 

Pkimrose (Youth) 262 

Daisy (Innocence) . , . 266 

Thistle (Independence) .... 269 

The Lily (Majesty). . . . 272 

MooNWORT (Forgetfulness) . . . 276 

The Crown Imperial (Power) . 278 

Mignonette (Your qualities surpass your 

cliarms) .••,... 279 

Ash (Grandeur) .... 

Wallflower (Fidelity in misfortune) 

The Lily of the Valley (Return of 
happiness) ...... 

Stock (Lasting beauty) 

Sweet William (Finesse. Dexterity) 

Dahlia (Pomp) 

White Poplar (Courage. Time) 

Black Poplar (Affliction) 

Motherwort (Concealed love) 

Cornflower (Delicat-y) , 
Aspen (Lamentation) 

Lemon (Zest) . 
Passion Flower (Faith). 
Svrinca (Fraternal love). 
Andromeda (Will you help me?) 
Parsley (Festivity) . 
Mistletoe (Give me a kiss) . 
Oak (Hospitality) 
Convolvulus (Night) 
Sunflower (False riches) 
Laurel (Glory). Bay (Fame) 
The Floral Oracle 
Typical Bouquets . 
Emblematic Garlands 
The Vocabulary 

Flora Symbolica. 


HAKSPEARE tells as that "fairies use flowers for 
tlieir charactery," and so, he might have added, do 
mortals, for the language of flowers is almost as ancient 
and universal a one as that of speech. 

The Chinese, whose chronicles antedate the historic 
records of all other nations, have, and ever seem to have 
had, a simple but complete mode of communicating 
"SllfS" ideas by means of florigraphic signs. The indestruct- 
ible monuments of the mighty Assyrian and Egyptian 
races bear upon their venerable surfaces a code of floral 
telegraphy that Time has been powerless to efface, but 
I whose hieroglyphical meaning is veiled, or, at the best, 
but dimly guessed at in our day. India, whose civilization had 
attained its full vigour whilst that of Greece was in its cradle, 
has ever been poetically ingenious in finding in her magnificent 
Flora significations applicable to human interest. Biblical lore 
abounds in comparisons between "the golden stars that in 
earth's firmament do shine," and the feelings and passions of 
poor mortality. Persian poetry is replete with blossomy similes ; 
whilst the mythology of the Greeks has been an apparently in- 
exhaustible storehouse to all authors in search of floral fancies. 
With the Hellenic race the symbolic language of flowers reached 
its culminating point of grandeur; and with the decline of 
Grecian glory faded away the brightest ■ epoch in the history 

Tntrod uction. 

of florigrapby. In the eyes of the sterner-minded Latins this 
innocent study found less favour ; and although they adapted 
many of their Hellenic predecessors' legends and customs, in 
connection with this science of sweet things, to their own my- 
thology, yet so weakened was its hold upon the minds of the 
people, that when, in the course of events, the decadence of 
the Roman empire arrived, the attractive art was allowed to 
fade into comparative oblivion. With the revival of learning 
in the middle ages, this symbolic mode of correspondence once 
more rebloomed, and, under the especial protection of chivalry, 
played a far from unimportant part in contemporary history. No 
gallant knight or gentle dame could then aspire to good breed- 
ing, unless perfectly conversant with florigraphy, as then taught; 
and the names, at least, of many of Europe's proudest families 
owe their origin to some circumstance connected with their 
founders' favourite blossom. In those days, minstrels and 
minnesingers sang praises of their mistresses' chosen bloom ; 
the noblest knight and gayest squire broke many a lance, and 
emptied many a flagon, in honour' of a sprig of broom, or a 
bunch of violets, that some fair dame had perchance adopted as 
her device. Even kings, not contented with their regal crowns, 
did not deem it derogatory to their dignity to enter the lists, 
in order to do battle for the floral wreaths that beauty proffered 
as a guerdon for the victor. 

Thus every age and every clime promulgated its own pecu- 
liar system of floral signs ; and although now-a-days, as regards 
the larger portion of Europe, the language is in many respects 
a dead one, yet still, amongst several Oriental races, this em- 
blematic style of communication flourishea with much of its 
pristine importance. 

" In Eastern lands they talk in flowers, 

And they tell in a garland their loves and cares; 
Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers 
On its leaves a mystical language wears." 

It has been said that the language of flowers is as old as the 
days of Adam, and that the antiquity of floral emblems dates 
from the first throbbing of love in the human breasrt; and, 
indeed, to gain a glimpse of florigraphic symbolism, as it ap- 
peared in its earliest and freshest vigour, we should have to 
journey backwards far into the shadowy obscurity which en- 

Intr oduc tion. 

velopes the antediluvian history of mankind. Phillips, and 
other painstaking investigators, have, it is true, not contented 
themselves with general allusions to the unfathomable antiquity 
of the typical uses which were made of 

" Flowers, the sole luxury that Nature knew 
In Eden's pure and guiltless garden," 

but have endeavoured to resuscitate from their long sleep of 
thousands of years, the irretrievably lost floral systems with 
which the mighty Indian, Egyptian, Chaldean, and ancient 
Chinese nations " wiled away the hours." 

Of all peoples, however, of whom we appear to possess any 
reliable records, the Greeks may be accounted the earliest 
florigraphists, and they do seem not only to have entertained 
the most passionate love for flowers, but to have adapted them 
as typical of every interesting occurrence, public or private. 
Loudon, speaking of the continual symbolic use made by the 
Hellenic race of flowers, says, " not only were they then, as 
now, the ornament of beauty, and of the altars of the gods, 
but the youths crowned themselves with them in the fetes, 
the priests in religious ceremonies, and the guests in convivial 
meetings. Garlands of flowers were suspended from the gates 

of the city in times of rejoicing 

the philosophers wore crowns of flowers, and the warriors orna- 
mented their foreheads with them in times of triumph." We 
read in Aristophanes that a market for flowers was held in 
Athens, where vendors rapidly disposed of the baskets of 
blooms which they proffered to the admiring bystanders. With 
the natives of ancient Greece, birth, marriage, burial, and every 
ceremony of any importance whatever was marked and dis- 
tinctly comprehended by means of its floral accompaniment. 
Emblematic of relief to the mother, and of wishes for good 
fortune to the child, was the Palm ; young wooers delicately 
intimated their passion by decorating the doorways of their 
beloved ones' residences with garlands of 

" All those token flowers that tell 
What words can ne'er exprefe so well " 

The illness of the inmates was indicated by Buckthorn and 
Laurel hung across the lintels : whilst the conclusion of this 



transitory existence was denoted by Parsley sprinkled over the 
remains of poor mortality ; whose head they crowned with 
various symbolic blossoms ; whose funeral pyre they decked 
with odoriferous blooms and spices ; whose urn they hung with 
wreaths of significant meaning, and above whose well-tended 
grave they planted flowers, shrubs, and typical trees. At the 
public games of Greece the victor was invariably rewarded 
with some floral emblem : the Olympian winner, as a token of 
his triumph, received a garland of Wild Olive ; he of the 
Pythian was rewarded with a Laurel crown ; the vanquisher at 
the Nemsean Games was honoured with a crown of Parsley, and 
at the plean with one of Pine-leaves. Then were their altars 
buried beneath their blossomy offerings, whilst all the cere- 
monies that were performed around them depended chiefly on 
their floral accompaniments for elucidation. In that time — 
that clime " where burning Sappho lived and sung " the praises 
of the Rose — the minstrel, the poet, the wrestler, and the 
patriot were all alike rewarded with wreathed floralities. Even 
Rome — ambitious Rome — held a flowery crown as fit guerdon 
for the weightiest services. " It was with two or three hundred 
crowns of oak," said Montesquieu, " that Rome conquered the 
world." These same warlike Latins instituted a festival in 
honour of Flora as early as 736 years before the birth of Christ 
— in the reign of Romulus ; but the public games or Floralia 
were not regularly established until 516 years after the foun- 
dation of Rome, when, on consulting the celebrated books of 
the Sibyl, it was ordained that the feast should be annually 
kept on the 28th day of April, that is, four days before the 
Calends of May. This festival ultimately degenerated into a 
scene of unbounded licentiousness, in which all its original pure 
and symbolic character was obliterated. " The worship of 
l-lora," observes Phillips, "among the heathen nations, maybe 
traced up to very early days. She was the object of religious 
veneration among the Phoenicians and Sabines long before the 
foundation of Rome ; the early Greeks worshipped her under 
the name of Chloris." And that those Greeks were perfectly 
conversant with an established florigraphic language may not 
only be gathered frpm the numerous allusions made to it by 
their writers, but also occasionally by less doubtful evidence, 
as; for instance, the Dream Book of Artemidotus, wherein can 


be seen palpable proof that every single bloom employed in 
the manufacture of wreaths and garlands was intended to im- 
part some particular meaning. 

" Surely," says Sir Thomas Browne, " the heathen knew 
better how to join and read these mystical letters, than we 
Christians, who cast a more careless eye on these common 
hieroglyphics, and disdain to suck divinity from the flowers of 

That these heathen did know how to interpret the meaning 
of " these mystical letters," evidence has already been adduced ; 
and, although in many dissertations on the language of flowers 
it has been stated that it was first made popular in Europe by 
Lady Mary Wortley Montague, there are abundant proofs that 
it was well understood and used from the earliest ages by many 
continental nations. After the decay of Latin imperialism, 
and until the dawn of the Renaissance, this delightful and at- 
tractive study was doubtless little known ; but in the age of 
chivalry and of the preeminence of the Romish faith it revived, 
and, for a time, floral significations again held sway. The 
Catholic was enabled to distinguish between fasting and fest- 
ive ceremonies by the variety of the bouquets that adorned the 
altar before which he offered up his orisons, and ofttimes the 
knight was enabled to manifest his devotion by wearing his 
lady's colours in his casque, and the lady frequently showed in 
what light she regarded his attention by the nature of the 
blooms she wore. 

The love of flowers is felt and acknowledged by everybody, 
and in every land : it is a theme for every one, a feeling in 
which all can coincide : the polished European or the untu- 
tored Australian ; the philosopher or the savage, all are ready 
to admire and to praise. So universal a feeling — a feeling 
doubtless coeval with man's existence upon this globe — could 
not fail to be taken advantage of, and made subservient to, the 
passions of mortality ; and to us it appears the most natural 
thing in the world that flowers should have been made em- 
blematic and communicative agents of our ideas. In all 
countries of this globe, and in all ages, flowers are seen em- 
ployed for symbolic and decorative purposes. In a suggestive 
passage in his "^iccount of the Island of Ceylon," Sir James 
E. Tennant speaks of the people even there off"ering up heca- 

Intro D uc tion- 

tombs of flowers, their temple as festooned into large bouquets, 
and of the surrounding air being ever heavy with the perfumes 
of champac and jessamine. 

Flowers appear always to have played a prominent part in 
the religious ceremonies of all peoples and in all ages ; but it 
would be useless to multiply examples of so well known and 
generally accepted a fact, and, indeed, to do so would be a de- 
parture from our present design of exhibiting a general history 
of the language only of flowers, as used at home and abroad. 

Florigraphy is a science that requires but little study. Some 
flowers, indeed, almost bear written upon their upturned faces 
the thoughts of which they are living representatives. That the 
" white investments " of the childlike Daisy should, as Shak- 
speare says, " figure innocence," is self-evident ; that all nations 
should select the glowing Rose as an emblem of love could not 
be wondered at ; whilst the little blue petals of the Myosotis 
palustris require no augur to explain their common name of 
Forget-me-not. Or again, who can doubt that the rich perfumes 
of some plants, or the sparkling lustres of others, must be 
deemed typical of joy and gladness ; or that the melancholy hue 
and sombre looks of others should cause them to be selected 
to symbolize sadness and despair.' 

Simple as is the language of those bright earth stars, "the 
alphabet of the angels," as they have been somewhat inaptly 
styled, a great deal of skill may be expended in forming them 
into sentences, and much ingenuity may be exercised in ex- 
plaining fully and satisfactorily the sentiments intended to be 
expressed towards the recipient of the floral message. The 
meanings of single token-flowers may soon be learned, but the 
knowledge of how' to form them into a complete epistle does 
demand some little method. Many who use this fascinating 
style of correspondence frequently agree to adopt certain secret 
and original significations known only to themselves ; and, it 
a little dexterity is shown, they not only give variety to, but 
also render their charming telegraphy perfectly unintelligible 
to the uninitiated, although he may be the most skilled flori- 
graphist breathing. 

Every professor, ay, every student of this gentle art, may 
introduce new and varied combinations into its simple laws; 
but there are a few rudimentary rules that should not be ne- 

Introd uction. 

glected. An adept in the grammar of this language gives these 
directions to his pupils : " When a flower is presented in its 
natural position, the sentiment is to be understood affirma- 
tively ; when reversed, negatively. For instance, a rose-bud, 
with its leaves and thorns, indicate _/^i2r with hope; but if re- 
versed, it must be construed as saying, "you may n&i'Ca.tx fear 
nor hope'.' Again, divest the same rose-bud of its thorns, and 
it permits the most sanguine hope ; deprive it of its petals and 
retain the thorns, and the worst fears may be entertained. The 
expression of every flower may be thus varied by varying its 
state or position. The Marigold is emblematic oi pain: place 
it on the head, and it signifies trouble of mind ; on the heart, 
the pangs of love ; on the bosom, the disgusts of etmui. The 
pronoun / is expressed by inclining the symbol to the right, 
and the pronoun thou by inclining it to the left. 

Such are the principal elements of the language of flowers, 
as used in England, France, Germany, and the United States, 
and simple as they are, they are frequently altered, and, indeed, 
disregarded entirely by many versed in its fanciful lore. The 
Blumen- Spraclie, or Language of Flowers of the Germans, 
diff'ers in many minor points from that of its sister nations, but 
the spirit is the same. 

With many Oriental races, this lovely realization of " visible 
speech " is practised to an extent little dreamt of in these 
colder climes ; and, it is said, you will scarcely find a native of 
the Levant who has not the whole system by heart. From 
the days of Lady Montague downwards, few of our travellers in 
" the land where the cypress and myrtle are emblems of deeds 
that are done in that clime," but have favoured the readers of 
their adventures with some incidents illustrating the habitual 
usage of this floral telegraphy among all classes of the people 
whom they are visiting. 

In the United States, the language of flowers is said to have 
more votaries than in any other part of the world ; and said 
with justice, if we may judge by the number and splendour of 
the works on the subject which have appeared there during the 
last few years, and the intimate acquaintance which American 
writers display with floral symbols. 

A beautiful poetess, the sweetness of whose fancies are only 
equalled by their sadness, has, in many deathless rhymes, pre- 


served and immortalized the various symbolic uses to which 
these silent interpreters have been put by mortals, and in the 
passionate poetry of such lines as these, tells more than prose 
can hope to utter : 

" Bring flowers, young flowers, for the festal board. 
To wreathe the cup ere the wine is poured : 
Bring flowers ! — they are springing in wood and vale. 
Their breath floats out on the southern gale, 
And the touch of the sunbeam hath waked the rose, 
To deck the hall where the bright wine flows. 

" Bring flowers, to strew in the conqueror's path — 
He hath shaken the thrones with his stormy wrath! 
He comes witli the spoil of nations back : 
The vines lie crushed in his chariot's trade. 
The turf looks red where he won the day — 
Bring flowers to die in the conqueror's way 1 

" Bring flowers to the captive's lonely cell, — 
They have tales of the joyous wood to tell; 
Of the free blue streams, and the glowing sky. 
And the bright world shut from his languid eye ; 
They will bear him a thought of the sunny hours, 
And a dream of his youth — bring him flowers, wild flowers I 

" Bring flowers, fresh flowers, for the bride to wear ! 
They were bom to blush in her shining hair. 
She is leaving the home of her childhood's mirth. 
She hath bid farewell to her father's hearth ; 
Her place is now by another's side — ■ 
Bring flowers for tlie locks of the fair young bride ! 

"Bring flowers, pale flowers, on the bier to shed 
A crown for the brow of the early dead ; 
For this, through its leaves hath the white rose bui-st ; 
For this, in tlie woods was the violet nursed. 
Though they smile in vain for what once was ours, 
They are love's last gift — bring ye flowers, pale flowers ! 

" Bring flowers to the shrine where we kneel in prayer : 
They are nature's offering, — their place is there! 
They speak of hope to the fainting heart ; 
With a voice of promise they come and part ; 
They sleep in dust through the Winter hours. 
They break forth in glory — bring flowers, bright flowei-s ! " 

A later, and, if comparison can be made between the children 
of song, a still mightier performer upon the lyre of Poesy — 
need Mrs. Browning's name be mentioned i" — has also deemed 
so sweet a theme as the emblematic language of flowers worthy 

Intro D uc no .v. 

of her regards, and in her poem of " A Flower in a Letter," 
tells us that 

"Love's language may be talked with these; 
To work out choicest sentences, 

No blossoms can be meeter ; 
And, such being used in Eastern bowers. 
Young maids may wonder if the flowers 

Or meanings be the sweeter. 

" And such being strewn before a bride. 
Her little foot may turn aside, 

Their longer bloom decreeing, 
Unless some voice's whispered sound 
Should make her gaze upon the ground 

Too earnestly for seeing. 

"And such being scattered on a grave. 
Whoever moumeth there, may have 

A type which seemeth worthy 
Of that fair body hid below. 
Which bloomed on earth a time ago. 

Then perished as the earthy. 

" And such being wreathed for worldly fe;ist, 
Across the brimming cup some guest 

Their rainbow colours viewing. 
May feel them, with a silent start. 
The covenant his childish heart 

With Nature made, — renewing.' 

In these two beautiful poems, the chief emblematic purposes 
to which "love's interpreters" are applied, have been alluded to, 
and it will thence be gathered that from birth to burial all the 
principal epochs of human life, public or private, are dependent 
upon floral associations for their most noteworthy decorations. 
H. G. Adams, in a remarkably interesting work on the "Moral, 
Language, and Poetry of Flowers," has collected a large amount 
of amusing information respecting the typical usage of these 
lovely wildings of nature by the people of different parts and 
various nations ; and in that portion of his work entitled 
" Children and Flowers," tenderly portrays the influence exer- 
cised upon youth by floral association — an association which, 
though deadened perchance in after life by too close intercourse 
with the human world, some little flowerets may at any time re- 
call the memory of, and cause a longing to renew " the covenant 
his childish heart with nature made;" but, alas ! too late, for how 
few but will be forced to exclaim with Praed, of these blooms: 


" They are not half so bright 
As childhood's roses were ! " 

Miss Pardoe, in the " City of the Sultan," describes an interest- 
ing ceremony, which she beheld some Turkish children perform- 
ing, at a time of excessive drought : — " At dusk, the village 
children, walking two and two, and each carrying a bunch of 
wild flowers, drew near the cistern in their turn, and sang, to 
one of the thrilling melodies of the country, a hymn of suppli- 
cation." Inspired by the sight, the talented authoress composed 
a kindred hymn, thus ending : 

"Allah! Father! hear us! 
We bring Thee flowers, sweet flowers. 

All withered in their prime ; 
No moisture glistens on their leaves. 

They sickened ere their time. 
And we, like them, shall pass away. 

Ere wintry days are near, 
Should'st Tiiou not hearken as we pray-— 

Allah! Father!— hear!" 

But childhood soon fleets away with its transient troubles and 
heedless mirth, and token-flowers are now sought for, to tell of 
deeper feelings, and more passionate hopes and fears, than yet 
have stirred the heart. Love ! love, the lord of all, asserts his 
right to rule : he is a most despotic monarch, and 

"Like Alexander Ae would reign; 
And Ae would reign alone." 

Now it is that the blushing cheek and bashful downcast eye 
show that another willing slave is brought into the bondage of 

" Love — beautiful and boundless love ! — who dwellest here below. 
Teaching the human lip to smile — the violet to blow. " 

and now it is, as Eliza Cook tells us, that 

" Some liken their love to the beautiful rose, 
And some to the violet sweet;" 

for each one seeks to typify his passion by the most beautiful 
emblem he can discover, and for such, instinctively turns to 
the lovely offspring of Flora, amid whose numerous and varied 
delicacies he speedily finds a symbol with which he may depict 
all the nameless longings of his heart. " Flowers have their 
language," says an able writer: " theirs is an oratory that speaks 

Introduction. ii 

in perfumed silence, and there is tenderness, and passion, and 
even the lightheartedness of mirth, in the variegated beauty of 

their vocabulary No spoken word can approach to the 

delicacy of sentiment to be inferred from a flower seasonably 
offered : the softest expressions may be thus conveyed with- 
out offence, and even profound grief alleviated, at a moment 
when the most tuneful voice would grate harshly on the ear, 
and when the stricken soul can be soothed only by unbroken 
silence." Of this latter state, how truly hath the poet said : 

"When we are sad, to sadness we apply 
Each plant, and flower, and leaf, that meets the eye." 

That flowers do serve to speak " thoughts that lie too deep 
for tears " cannot be doubted ; for not only have poets made 
use of them to portray their intense passions, but even the 
untutored savage woos his heart's chosen treasure with floral 
symbols, or defies his antagonist with emblematic blooms. 
" Flowers do speak a language, clear and intelligible," says the 
talented authoress of "Flora Domestical" "observe them, reader, 
love them, linger over them ; and ask your own heart if they 
do not speak affection, benevolence, and piety." Do not flowers, 
lovely flowers, respond to the questionings of our hearts in a 
language more powerful, and far more expressive, than that of 
the tongue 1 Even more potent than the poet's magic lay, 

" They pour an answering strain, that never 
Could be awoke by minstrel skill ; " 

and their perfumed response 

" The rarest melody is that ever 

Stirr'd human hearts to bless and thrill." 

Poor Letitia Landon, in her poem of " The Poetess," while tell- 
ing the " History of the Lyre," exclaims — 

"The flowers were full of song: upon the rose 
I read the crimson annals of true love; 
The violet flung me back an old romance ; 
All were associated with some link 
Whose fine electric throb was in the mind." 

Tennyson, in his ever-questioning philosophy, may ask, 

"Oh, to what uses shall be put 

The wild weed flower that simply blows? 

/ 2 Intr oduc tjon 

And is there any moral shut 
Within the bosom of the rose?" 

But he at once answers his own doubt by adding that 

" Any man that walks the mead, 

In bird, or blade, or bloom, may find — 
According as his humours lead — 
A meaning suited to his mind. " 

And such is the bounteous and varied supply of symbolic 
floral words with which nature decks even the less favoured of 
her shrines, that all her children have ever ready to use some 
requisite parts of that speech which is clearly universal. This 
love of florigraphy is plainly one of those natural touches which 
make all the world akin — one of those binding links whose 
origin we cannot detect, and whose effects only we can perceive. 
Here we may exclaim with Eliza Cook : 

" Oh, could we but trace the great meaning of ALL, 
And what delicate links form the ponderous chain. 
From the dew-drops that rise, to the star-drops that fall. 
We should see but one purpose, and nothing in vain!" 

From the unlettered North American Indian to the highly- 
polished Parisian ; from the days of dawning civilization among 
the mighty Asiatic races, whose very names are buried in 
oblivion, down to the present times, the symbolism of flowers 
is everywhere and in all ages discovered permeating all strata 
of society. It has been, and still is, the habit of many peoples 
to name the different portions of the years after the most pro- 
minent changes of the vegetable kingdom. Thus, amongst the 
American Indians, one period or season is known as the " bud- 
ding month," which in due course is followed by the "flowering 
month," which in its turn gives way to the " fall of the leaf," as 
these tribes poetically term their autumn. 

It has been truthfully remarked that the eloquence of flowers 
is not so generally understood in this country as it might be ; 
and although the most cultivated minds of the most polished 
nations are continually reiterating the valuable influence of 
floral beauty, and are constantly recurring to floral symbolism 
in order to expound their ideas, yet it is chiefly amongst those 
races which we are pleased to term rude and barbarous that we 
find the most delicate appreciation of floral ascendency. What 
more beautiful exposition of such a creed can be discovered 



than that given by Bougainville's "South Sea Islander," who, on 
being taken to the Botanic Garden in Paris, knelt before an 
Otaheitan plant, and kissed it as affectionately as a lover — as 
reverently as a worshipper ? This trait in the human mind is 
typified amongst Oriental and other semi-civilized races by the 
sweetly poetical appellations which they give to the flowers 
and shrubs of their countries — names endowed with more true 
poetry than all the much-vaunted fables of Rome, or even of 

No country can boast a more varied or more poetical Flora 
than we now possess ; but the literatures and languages of the 
Hindoo, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, and Malayan races must be 
scrutinized in order to discover persons conversant with the real 
symbolism of flowers. Some idea of the Hindoo, and also 
Egyptian, floral languages may be gleaned from our pages on 
the lotus and other sacred flowers of the East. In Lalla Rookh 
we catch occasional glimpses of their weird mysticism ; as like- 
\yise in the works of Sir William Jones, which abound with 
interesting allusions to these beauties. Many such emblematic 
blossoms are described by L. E. L. in her poetical portrait of 
Manmadin, the Indian Cupid. She pictures him as 

"Grasping in his infant hand 
Arrows in their silken band, 
Each made of a signal flower — 
Emblem of its varied power : 
Some formed of the silver leaf 
Of the almond, bright and brief. 
Just a frail and lovely thing, 
For but one hour's flourishing; 
Others, on whose shaft there glows 
The red beauty of the rose ; 
Some in Spring's half-folded bloom. 
Some in Summer's full perfume ; 
Some with withered leaves and sere, 
Falling with the falling year ; 
Some bright with the rainbow dyes 
Of the tulip's vanities ; 
Some, bound with the lily's bell, 
Breathes of love that dares not tell 
Its sweet feelings ; the dark leaves 
Of the esignum, which grieves. 
Droopingly round some were boimd ; 
Others were with tendrils wound 

Of the green and laughing vine, 
And the barb was dipped in wine. 
But all these are Summer ills, 
Like the tree whose stem distils 
Balm beneath its pleasant shade 
In the wounds its thorns have made. 
Though the flowers may fade and die, 
'T is but a light penalty. 
All these bloom-clad clarts are meant 
But for a short-lived content ! 
Yet one arrow has a power 
Lasting till life's latest hour — 
Weary day and sleepless night, 
Lightning gleams of fierce delight, 
Fragrant and yet poisoned sighs, 
Agonies and ecstaciesj 
Hopes like fires amid the gloom. 
Lighting only to consume ! 
Happiness one hasty draught, 
And the lip has venom quaffed. 
Doubt, despairing, crime, and craft. 
Are upon that honied shaft ! " 

Symbolic flowers, fruit, and even vegetables, are still much 

14 Introduction. 

employed in Hindostan ; nevertheless, the domination of the 
British Government has undoubtedly much lessened the in- 
fluence they exercise upon the minds of the natives. In many 
parts of the Indian peninsula a pleasant floral custom is re- 
tained. After dinner, servants carry round to the guests a silver 
basin decked with newly-gathered flowers, into which water is 
poured over the hands. The flowers are placed in a perforated 
cover, so as to conceal the water from view. In some parts of 
India, as also of Persia, it is customary to welcome the stranger 
on his entrance to a town with wreaths of flowers, which, it is 
said, the women and children are eager to offer. One of these 
emblems of hospitality seems to us far more desirable than a 
chariot-load of the blood-stained triumphal garlands which the 
Latins awarded to their successful soldiery. Hindoos are fond 
of covering the shrines of their favourite deities with floral 
offerings ; and, like their brethren of Turkey and Persia, the 
Hindostanee followers of Mahomet inherit the love of all 
Eastern nations for blossomy symbols. 

Forbes, in his " Oriental Memoirs," speaking of the ceme- 
teries of Guzerat, says : " To those consecrated spots the 
Mahommedan matrons repair, at stated anniversaries, with 
fairest flowers to sweeten the sad grave. The grand tombs are 
often splendidly illuminated, but the meanest heap of turf has 
its visitors, to chant a requiem, light a little lamp, suspend a 
garland, or strew a rose, as an affectionate tribute to departed 
love or separated friendship." Would that our neglected grave- 
yards — our "cities of silence," as the Turks poetically call 
cemeteries — could present scenes as consolatory ! Perhaps, 
however, it is as well that it is not death, but the world, that is 
too much with us. 

It has been remarked that the floral symbols of these ancient 
nations have elucidated some of the most difficult questions 
concerning their history, and have made it certain that most 
of the Indian and Egyptian customs originated in Chaldea — 
that land of serene and tranquil skies, where the observation of 
nature first grew into a science, and was cradled and cherished 
in the earliest ages of the world. The exclusiveness of the 
Chinese and Japanese races makes it difficult to obtain any 
reliable account of their florigraphical symbols ; nevertheless, 
there is sufficient proof that the former employ a floral alphabet, 

Introd vc tion. 1 5 

and that the latter, like all nations of ancient origin, possesses 
a mode of emblematic floral communication. In the ornamen- 
tation and beautifying of gardens the Chinese are said to excel 
all other countries ; it is not to be wondered at, therefore, that 
they make profuse use of flowers at their different public and 
private ceremonies — more especially those of marriage and 
burial : they plant flowers and shrubs about the graves of their 
families, and richly decorate their temples with blossomy offer- 
ings. Typical blooms are generally found associated with their 
deities ; as for instance, is the case with Puzza, who is repre- 
sented seated on a lotus. 

The Japanese, who are evidently a sturdier race than their 
over-governed effeminate neighbours, evince great skill in the 
cultivation of flowers, and the production of new varieties of 
them. Their trees are stated to be remarkable for the number 
of them that bear double blossoms — a proof of experienced 
culture. The Japanese (as were the ancient Hebrews) are fond 
of naming their children after beautiful flowers ; indeed, it has 
been stated that all their female names are derived from blos- 
soms — a graceful compliment akin to that of the Malayan 
tongue, which employs one word to express both women and 
flowers. They picture the Deity as recumbent upon a water- 
lily ; and in many ways, both sacred and secular, express not 
only their affection for flowers, but also a symbolic method of 
using them. 

So much has been said in various portions of this work re- 
specting the floral language of the Turks and Persians, that it 
may almost sound like repetition to advert to them once more; 
but as such stress is generally placed upon Lady Mary Wort- 
ley Montague's description and presumed introduction of these 
codes into Western Europe, it is impossible to pass the subject 
by without some allusion. The so-called Turkish " Language of 
Flowers" was first popularized in England and France by the 
above-named lady, and by La Motraie, Charles the Twelfth's 
companion in exile. 

From the few examples of this floral system cited by these 
illustrious travellers, it does not appear to indicate much of the 
brilliancy and delicacy of thought which characterized the 
emblematic methods of the nations of antiquity, and would 
seem merely to have originated (as a writer in the " Edinburgh 


Magazine " very justly observes) " in the idleness of the harem, 
from the desire of amusement and variety which the ladies shut 
up there, without employment and without culture, must feel. 
It answers the purpose of enigmas, the solution of which amuses 
the vacant hours of the Turkish ladies, and is founded on a 
sort of crambo or bout rim^y 

"The Turkish dialect being rich in rhymes," observes another 
florigraphical authority, " presents a multitude of words corre- 
sponding in sound with the names of the flowers ; but these 
rhymes are not all admitted into the language of flowers, and 
the knowledge of this language consists in being acquainted 
with the proper rhyme. A flower or fruit expresses an idea 
suggested by the word with which its name happens to rhyme. 
Thus, for instance, the word armonde (pear) rhymes among 
other words with ormonde (hope), and this rhyme is filled up 
as follows: 'Armonde: Wer bana bir ormonde: Pear, let me 
not despair.' " 

Herr von Hammer, the well-known Oriental traveller, col- 
lected from the Greek and Armenian women, who are allowed 
to traffic with the inmates of the harems, about a hundred 
phrases of this peculiar vocabulary, some of which were after- 
wards publistit-d in a German miscellany entitled " Mines of 
the East." 

An able writer, comparing these wretched remnants of ancient 
floral customs with their pristine glories, speaks thus forcibly : 
" The rich imagery and startling truth of the Eastern metaphors 
and symbols have crumbled into ruins, like the temples dedi- 
cated to their gods. Sickly and weak as is the modern language 
of flowers, it is yet as prevalent in its use as ever. Undoubtedly, 
the pure system of floral caligraphy came to Europe from Egypt, 
in which country the love of flowers was carried to such an ex- 
tent that Amasis, it is recorded, from a private soldier became 
general of the armies of King Partanis, for having presented 
him with a crown of flowers. This fortunate donor afterwards 
became the monarch of Egypt himself, and, it is to be presumed, 
did not neglect those favourites of Flora by whose means he 
gained his crown. 

European florigraphy rose and fell in Greece. There it 
attained the summit of its glory, and there sank into an 
ignominious neglect, from which it has never been entirely 

Intr oduc tion. 1 7 

renovated. It is, however, pleasant to learn that many rem- 
nants of the old floral customs still linger about the Grecian 
isles, and to read of a marriage ceremony in the Isle of Delos, 
in which flowers form the principal decorations. One authority 
tells us that at daybreak the islanders assembled, and crowned 
themselves with garlands ; strewed showers of blossoms upon 
the path of the bridal train ; wreathed the house with flowers ; 
singers and dancers appeared adorned with oak, myrtle, and 
■hawthorn garlands ; the bride and bridegroom were crowned 
with poppies ; and upon their approach to the temple, a priest 
received them at its portals, and presented to each of them a 
spray of ivy — a symbol of the tie which was to unite them for 

The Italians, as a rule, are said to evince great dislike of 
perfumes ; and this, perhaps, combined with lingering memo- 
ries of the disgraceful scenes that were enacted by the Romans 
in their decadence, at the Floralian festivals, appears to have 
somewhat damped the national love of floral symbolism ; 
nevertheless, the innate afiection man entertains for commun- 
ing by means of these golden stars is not quite dormant even 
there, as occasional references in these pages will demonstrate. 

Floral emblemism is still powerful in the Iberian peninsula, 
but generally assumes a superstitious tinge, and, indeed, is 
principally indebted to Catholic legends for what little vitality 
it there possesses. 

In France the language of flowers reigns paramount, and 
amongst her gallant sons and vivacious daughters, reckons its 
admirers by myriads. Many of the pretty little floral vocabu- 
laries and grammars that have appeared during the last few 
years in England and America have been simply word-for- 
word translations from the works of our Gallic neighbours. 

The manifold editions which the various Blumen-Sprachcn 
of Germany have attained, prove that this fascinating study 
numbers numerous devotees amongst the philosophizing Teu- 
tonians ; whilst the frequent mention of floral emblematic 
customs by Gothe, and other distinguished writers, is sufficient 
to convince us of the hold which these ancient ideas have upon 
the mind of even the most educated classes of society. 

Hans Christian Andersen, the friend and favourite of young 
and old, of every reading child and of every grown person who 

1 8 Introductios'. 

loves to recall the visions and fancies of youth — the man whose 
simple heartfek stories are translated into every civilized tongue 
— never loses an opportunity of depicting the loveable intercourse 
which the people of the Scandinavian races hold with the floral 
world. In a sweet little sketch termed " Das dummes Buck" he 
has these appropriate remarks : "The withered oak-leaf in this 
book is to remind him of a friend, a schoolfellow, with whom 
he swore a life-long friendship. He fastened the leaf to his 
student-cap, in the greenwood, when the bond that was to be 
so lasting was made. Where does he live now .' The leaf is 
preserved, but the friendship is ended ! Here is a foreign hot- 
house plant, too tender for the gardens of the North ; it looks 
as fresh as if the petals still exhaled perfume 1 It was given to 
him by a maiden in her father's splendid garden. Here is a 
water-rose, a sweet water-rose, which he plucked himself, and 
which he has moistened with his own salt tears. And here is a 
nettle, and what can its leaves say .^ What were his thoughts as 
he plucked it, and why has he preserved it here .■" Here is a 
IVEay-lily out of the forest solitude ; and here a perriwinkle- 
blossom from the parlour vase ; and here a blade of ladies'-grass 
— what do they all typify.''" Well might Gothe exclaim, when 
thinking of such suggestive emblems as these, " Some flowers 
are only lovely to the eye, but others are lovely to the heart." 

Of England's interest for floral symbolism what may be said 
here t Accused of neglecting the charming study, and of deem- 
ing it too trivial for the notice of this prosaic age, yet do her 
bards — still do her favourite minstrels, tune their lyres to hymn 
its evergreen delights. From the days of Dan Chaucer, the har- 
binger of English poesy, to the Tennysonian age, have our 
poets continually paid homage to the emblematic language of 
flowers, as may be proved by reference to the countless extracts 
in this work. 

A distinguished writer has the following observations on the 
subject of Shakspeare's acquaintance with florigraphy: "Shak- 
speare has evinced in several of his plays a knowledge and a 
love of flowers ; but in no instance has he shown his taste and 
judgment in the selection of them with greater effect than in 
forming the coronal wreath of the lovely maniac, Ophelia. The 
queen describes the garland as composed of crow-flowers, nettles, 
daisies, and long-purples ; and there can be no question that 

Introductioit. 19 

Shakspeare intended them all to have an emblematic meaning. 
The crow-flower is a species of lychnis, or meado.w campion : it 
is sometimes found double in our hedgerows ; and in this form 
we are told by Parkinson it was called The Fayre Mayde of 
France. It is to this name and to this variety that Shakspeare 
alludes in Hamlet. (The long-purples are commonly called 
" dead men's fingers.") 

" ' Our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.' 

The daisy imports the purity or spring-tide of life ; and the 
intermixture of nettles needs no comment." 

Admitting the correctness of this interpretation, the whole is 
an excellent specimen of emblematic or picture writing. They 
are all wild flowers, denoting the bewildered state of the beau- 
tiful Ophelia's own faculties ; and the order runs thus, with the 
meaning of each term beneath : 


Fayre Mayde. Stu7Lg to the gnick. Her yotith/jil bloom. Uilder the cold hand of death. 
" A fair maid Stung to the quick; her youthful bloom under the cold hand of death." 

It would be difficult to select a more appropriate garland for 
this victim of love's cruelty. Indeed, Shakspeare, as the perusai 
of the following pages testifies, continually availed himself of 
the symbolism of flowers, in order to depict the passions of 

Chaucer and Herrick are probably next in rank amongst our 
earlier bards in the truly poetic fancy of rendering flowers 
vehicles of human sentiments. Amongst our modern minstrels, 
to speak of position would be invidious ; but nothing could 
come more appropriate to our purpose than this little lay by 
Patterson : 

*' Flowers are the brightest things which earth 
On her broad bosom loves to cherish ; 
Gay they appear as children's mirth, 
Like fading dreams of hope they perish. 

" In every clime, in every age, 

Mankind has felt their pleasing sway ; 
And lays to them have deck'd the page 
Of moralist and minstrel gay. 

" By them the lover tells his tale, — 

They can his hopes, his fears express ; 
The maid, when words or looks would fail. 
Can thus a kind retmn express. 

Jntrod vc tion. 

"They wreathe the harp at banquets tried, 
With them we crown the crested brave ; 
* They deck the maid — adorn the bride — 
Or form the chaplets for her grave." 

The richly varied and magnificent Flora of the American 
continent has offered her sons and daughters a floral vocabu- 
lary capable of almost unlimited application, and readily have 
the denizens of the New World seized upon and resuscitated 
these decaying systems of the Eastern Hemisphere. The 
numerous brilliant and original tokens which they have already 
sent forth in explanation of the American language of flowers 
prove that they are not dependent upon European codes for 
emblematic communion ; as Holmes — their own witty-wise 
Holmes — says : 

" They ask no garlands sought beyond the tide. 
But take the leaflets gathered at their side." 

Many blossoms gathered from Columbia's well-stored garden 
will be discerned in this bouquet ; but this bright bud of Charles 
Fenno Hoffmann's will not fail to increase the brilliancy of the 
tout ensemble: 


•' Teach thee their language? Sweet, I know no tongue. 

No mystic art those gentle things declare ; 
I ne'er could trace the schoolman's trick among 

Created things so delicate and rare. 
Their language ? Prithee! why, they are themselves 

But bright thoughts syllabled to shape and hue, — 
The tongue that erst was spoken by the elves, 

When tenderness as yet within the world was new. 

"And, oh! do not their soft and starry eyes — 

Now bent to earth, to heaven now meekly pleading. 
Their incense fainting as it seeks the skies. 

Yet still from earth with freshening hope receding — 
Say, do not these to every heart declare. 

With all the silent eloquence of truth, 
The language that they speak is Nature's prayer, 

To give her back those spotless days of youth?" 

That flowers do mingle in the general prayer of nature, no 
thinking mind can deny. The links that bind them — that have 
ever bound them — to humanity, are too manifold to be broken 
or concealed. From the earliest historic ages, flowers have 
mingled with the deeds, and, alas ! misdeeds, of man ; and it 


was probably, as the authoress of " Flora Domestica " suggests, 
"the general power of sympathy which caused them to be 
connected with some of the earliest events that history records. 
The mythologies of all nations are full of them ; and in all 
times they have been associated with the soldiery, the govern- 
ments, and the arts. Thus the patriot was crowned with Oak ; 
the hero and the poet with Bay; and beauty with the Myrtle. 
Peace had her Olive ; Bacchus his Ivy ; and whole groves of 
oak-trees were thought to send out oracular voices in the winds. 
One of the most pleasing parts of state splendour has been 
associated with flowers. . . It was this that brought the gentle 
family of Roses into such unnatural broils in the civil wars ; 
and still the united countries of Great Britain have each a 
floral emblem : Scotland has its Thistle, Ireland its Shamrock, 
and England the Rose. France, under the Bourbons, had the 
golden Lily." Our different festivals have each their own pecu- 
liar plant to be used in their celebration. At Easter, the Willow 
as a substitute for the Palm ; at Christmas, the Holly and 
Mistletoe ; and, on May-day, the Hawthorn or May-bush. 

Notwithstanding all that has happened, all that has been 
said upon the subject, some people still refuse credence to the 
influence of flowers — even deeming frivolous or meaningless 
these florigraphical tokens which have been a source of joyous 
feelings and sublime hopes to thousands. 

In his beautiful pljilosophical work on the "Nature and 
Phenomena of Life," Leo Grindon thus emphatically expresses 
his opinion as to the truthfulness of the emotions engendered 
in the human mind by this unspoken language : " The presig- 
nificance of mental and moral qualities by plants is fully as 
extensive as that of organic structure and configuration. This 
arises, of course, from the correspondence which subsists between 
the material and the spiritual world. The former, as the ex- 
ternal image of the latter, must needs prefigure it. The box- 
tree represents stoicism ; the camomile plant patience in adver- 
sity ; the ash and mulberry prefigure pmdence; the nettle is a 
presage of spitefulness ; trees like the hermandia, that make a 
great display of foliage, but produce no fruit of any value, give 
note of empty and pretentious boasters. It was not from their 
mere commercial value that the dowry of a Greek bride wa; 
paid in olive plants, any more that it is from mere fancy tha- 

22 Introduction. 

the English one wears a wreath of orange blossoms : it prefigures 
the virtues and the aptitudes which adorn and should appear 
in the wife. The leaves are green all the year round ; flowers 
white and fragrant, fruits full grown, and others in youngest 
infancy are always to be seen on this beautiful tree. We may 
gather from Scripture why the ancients placed palm-branches 
in the hands of their statues of Temperance and Cheerfulness, 
and why, in Egypt, a vine was Jhe hieroglyph of Intelligence." 
Such are the tenets of florigraphists. Let us hope that such 
harmless if not beneficent doctrines are destined for universal 
acceptance, and that those bright times, foretold by Shelley, 
are not far distant, when 

"Not gold, not Mootl, the altnr dowers, 
]jut votive blooms and symbol flowL'i-.s.' 

The Rose. 

"Love is like a rose." — Philip Bailey. 

BY universal suffrage the Rose has been voted to bethe love- 
liest amongst the children of Flora. There is scarcely a 
name of any note in the world's literature that has not paid a 
willing tribute to the beauties of the "bloom of love" and a 
collection comprising one tithe of all the choice things said of 
it would amply fill a very respectable-sized library: 

It is, in all probability, a native of the East, whence it tra- 
velled westward. It has now become an inhabitant of every 
civilized country, and opes its glowing petals to the sun in 
every quarter of the globe. Its' scent is the most exquisite, 
its colours the most fascinating, and its verdure the most re- 
freshing of all the beauties of nature. 

Our rose-tree, however, is on a very small scale compared 
with the rose of the East. This latter grows to the height of 
fourteen feet, spreading out widely its branches, heavily laden 
with thick masses of the most lovely flowers. The rose of 
Sharon and the rose of Damascus are the favourites of Oriental 
nations ; and, indeed, we have proofs that this latter species 
has been held in high esteem for nearly two thousand years. 
Few things have been more celebrated in history than the Rose 
Gardens at Paestum in Lucania, which flourished about the 
commencement of the Christian era. 

The rose is mentioned by the earliest writers of antiquity. 
Herodotus speaks of the double rose ; in the Song of Solomon 
is the expression, "I am the rose of Sharon ;" and allusion is 
also made therein to the plantation of roses at Jericho. Isaiah 
makes use of the beautiful thought — "The desert shall rejoice 
and blossom as the rose ;" and Stesichorus, one of the earliest 

24 The Rose. 

Greek poets of whom any writings are extant, has left a refe- 
rence to the rose in the following fanciful lines : 

" Many a yellow quince was there 
Piled upon the regal chair ; 
Many a verdant myrtle bough — 

Many a rose crown fealy wreathed 
With twisted violets that grow 

Where the breath of Spring has breathed." 

Sappho, a contemporary of this latter author, wrote an exqui- 
site ode to the rose ; and Thomas Moore, the modern Anacreon, 
has thus transferred to the Enghsh the burning language of the 
Lesbian maid : 

"If Jove would give the leafy bowers 
A queen for all their world of flowers, 
The rose would be the choice of Jove, 
And blush the queen of every grove. 
Sweetest child of weeping morning, 
Gem, the breast of earth adorning, 
Eye of flow'rets, glow of lawns. 
Bud of beauty, nursed by dawns : 
Soft the soul of love it breathes, 
Cypria's brow with magic wreathes; 
And to the Zephyr's warm caresses. 
Diffuses all its verdant tresses, 
Till glowing with the wanton's play, 
It blushes a diviner ray." 

Anacreon, Love's own minstrel, in language scarcely surpassed 
by the glowing words of his unfortunate fellow-votary, Sappho, 
has celebrated the powers of the rose ; and, in lines eloquent 
as his master's own, the admiring Antipater, in his ode to the 
glorious Tean, prays that — 

"Around thy tomb, O bard divine! 

Where soft thy hallow'd bi'ow reposes, 
Long may the deathless ivy twine, 

And Summer pour her wealth of roses." 

Theophrastus tells us that in his days the hundred-leaved rose 
(which is emblematic of grace) grew on Mount Pangseus. It 
would seem that the Isle of Rhodes (i.e., roses) was so desig- 
nated from the culture of those flowers having been anciently 
carried on there. Pliny mentions several sorts of roses culti- 
vated by the Romans, and those of Campania, Miletus, and 
Cyrene were the most celebrated. Loudon seems to think that 
the white rose (typical of silence), and the yellow rose (typify- 


T-^r—T ==y — r-^r—t— T-^r-^ 

7 HE Rose. 25 

ing infidelity), were unknown to the ancients ; and, if so, many 
pretty legends connected with those blossoms lose their point. 

Be this as it may, those ancients themselves sometimes fabled 
that the red rose was originally white, but received a rosy hue 
from blood drawn by a thorn from the foot of Venus, as she 
was hastening to the aid of her adored Adonis. Carey fanci- 
fully ascribes its ruddy tint to the kisses of Eve ; and some to 
those of the Goddess of Love, from whose bath, Greek writers 
say, it originally sprang; whilst the full-bosomed cabbage rose, 
they say, sprang from the tears of Lycurgus, the enemy of 
Bacchus. One author, in speaking of this flower, asserts that 
in its primitive state it has no thorns, which, he suggestively 
adds, are produced by cultivation. 

Those glorious ancients who regarded the rose as the emblem 
of silence, as well as of love and joy, frequently represented 
Cupid offering one to Harpocrates, the God of Silence ; and, 
as a further illustration of the gentle hint, on festive occasions 
suspended a rose over the table, intimating to the assembled 
guests that the conversation was to be literally, as well as 
metaphorically, "under the rose." This latter account is 
generally given as the correct derivation of the saying, "sub 
rosa," applied to communications not to be repeated ; but 
some writers say that the rose was once dedicated to Harpo- 
crates, and thus became the emblem of taciturnity, for which 
reason, it is averred, it is frequently placed over the confes- 
sionals in Roman Catholic churches, indicating the secrecy 
which should attend whatever may be there disclosed to the 
ears of the priest. 

Roses, which, as Herodotus says, from the days when Midas, 
the Phrygian king, had gardens of them, until our own times, 
have ever reigned as queen of flowers, with a beauty only 
equalled by that of " the rose-bud garden of girls," and ever 
has that flower, which, Juliet tells us, would smell as sweet if 
called by any other name than that of " rose," been the darling 
bloom of poets and lovers. In the romance of " Perceforet," a 
hat adorned with roses is a favourite gage d' amour. In Don 
Quixote's best-beloved fiction, " Amadis de Gaul," the captive 
Oriana throws to her lover, as a pledge of her unalterable 
affection, a rose bathed in her own tears. In the well-known 
German collection of romances ("The Book of Heroes.") a pro- 

?6 The Rose. 

minent position is assigned to the Rose Garden of Worms : 
the fragile rampart that surrounded that famous garden was 
nothing more than a silken thread. Being attacked by giants, 
it was triumphantly defended by a band of knights, to each of 
whom Princess Chrymhilde assigned a chaplet of roses and a 
kiss as a reward. It is said that one of the knights, named 
Hildebrandt, whilst accepting the chaplet, declined the salute ; 
but that another, who was a monk named Ilsan, was so pleased 
with the proffered recompense that he begged for the bestowal 
of similar favours upon each of the fifty-two monks inhabiting 
the convent to which he belonged. His request was granted, 
but not until he had slain fifty-two of the gigantic offenders. 

Roses were more highly prized by the Romans than any 
other flower : they considered them emblematic oi joy, and, in 
conformity with that idea, represented Comus, the God of 
Feasting, as a handsome young man, crowned with a garland 
of roses, whose leaves glistened with dew-drops. Milton, ever 
apt at classic lore, causes this sylvan deity to bid his attendant 

" Braid your locks with rosy twine, 
Dropping odours, dropping wine." 

In the reign of Domitian, the Egyptians thought of offering 
to that emperor's court, as a magnificent present, roses in the 
middle of winter ; but the Romans, who had already attained 
the means of forcing flowers, smiled at the proffered gift, so 
abundant were roses in Rome at this season. " In every 
street," says Martial, "the odour of spring is breathed, and 
garlands of flowers, freshly gathered, are displayed." " Send 
us corn, Egyptian ! and we will send you roses," ironically ex- 
claims this poet. 

The extravagant use of flowers by the Romans was con- 
tinually subjecting them to the reproofs of their philosophers. 
They were accustomed to strew their streets with roses at their 
chief festivals. Heliogabalus had his bed, apartments, and 
porticoes strewed with the rarest flowers ; and, before him, 
Cicero reproached Verres with having travelled through Sicily, 
seated on roses, with a crown of flowers on his head, and a 
garland round his neck. The Roman physicians, whose duties 
were multitudinous, determined what kinds of plants were pro- 
per to be admitted into the floral crowns designed to be placed 

The Rose. 27 

upon the heads of those whom it was intended should be 
honoured at great festivals. The plants selected were the pars- 
ley, the ivy, the myrtle, and the rose — all of which were con- 
sidered to act as antidotes to the effects of wine. 

Rose-trees were employed both by the Greeks and Romans 
to decorate graves ; and instances are given of rose gardens 
being bequeathed by their proprietors for the purpose of fur- 
nishing flowers to cover their places of sepulture. They fre- 
quently invoked the most bitter imprecations against those 
who dared to violate these sacred plantations. Sometimes the 
dying man ordered that his heirs should meet every year, on 
the anniversary of his decease, to dine together near his tomb, 
and to crown it with roses from his sepulchral plantation. 

The early Christians strongly disapproved of the employ- 
ment of flowers, either at feasts or at burials, because they 
were so used by the Pagans. Tertullian wrote a book against 
garlands ; and Clement of Alexandria did not think it right 
that kings should be crowned with roses, as Christ was crowned 
with thorns. St. Anselm launched anathemas against those 
who made pilgrimages to the wells and fountains of reputed 
saints in order to strew them with flowers. Notwithstanding 
the strenous opposition of their clergy, however, the Roman 
converts persisted in their floral rites ; and, alluding to such 
practices. Bishop Heber says, " If this be heathenish. Heaven 
help the wicked !" 

The custom is prevalent in many countries of placing a 
chaplet of flowers above the dead. In some parts of the south 
of England, a wreath of white roses is borne before the corpse 
of a maiden by a young girl, and after the burial is hung up 
over her accustomed seat at church. "They are emblemati- 
cal," says Washington Irving, in his Sketch Book, " of purity, 
and the crown of glory which she has received in heaven." 
L. E. Landon's exquisite lines, entitled " The Legacy of the 
Roses," are stated to have been suggested by a bequest that 
Edward Rose, a citizen of London, who died in 1653, made. 
He left twenty pounds (a considerable sum in those days) for 
the purchase of an acre of land, for the poor of the village of 
Barnes in Surrey, where his remains are placed, upon condition 
that a number of rose-trees should be planted around his grave, 
and kept well tended. 

28 The Rose. 

" Plant the green sod with the crimson rose, 
Let my friends rejoice o'er my calm repose. 
Let my memory be like the odours shed, 
My hope like the promise of early red ; 
Let strangers share in their breath and bloom — 
Plant ye the bright roses over my tomb." 

So sang this pathetic writer, whose melancholy fate seems to 
throw a shadow of sadness over everything that she has written. 
Poor Laman Blanchard, whose own destiny was terminated so 
prematurely, in his " Life and Literary Remains of L. E. L.," 
tells of a touching and graceful compliment once paid to the 
subject of his story: " It was a tribute from America, sent from 
the far-off banks of the Ohio, a curious species of the Michigan 
rose, accompanied by a prayer that she would plant it on the 
grave of Mrs. Hemans. To no hand could it have been more 
appropriately transmitted than to the hand which wrote so 
reverently and raptuously of that gifted woman ;" and whose 
own words she might well wailingly quote, and say, 

" The rose, the glorious rose, is gone." 

It does seem strange that flowers — and of all flowers, that 
most brilliant one, the rose — should be so often associated with 
death and sorrow ; and yet the combination is a universal one. 
Formerly, the rose was blended with the lily, to form a general 
emblem of frail mortality. " This sweet flower," says Evelyn, 
" borne on a brarich set with thorn, and accompanied with the 
lily, are natural hieroglyphics of our fugitive, anxious, and tran- 
sitory life, which, making so fair a show for a time, is not yet 
without its thorns and crosses." Washington Irving, in his 
sketch of rural funerals, says : " The white rose was planted at 
the grave of a maiden ; her chaplet was tied with white ribands 
in token of her spotless innocence, though sometimes black 
ribands were intermingled, to bespeak the grief of survivors. 
The red rose was occasionally used .... but roses in general 
were appropriated to the graves of lovers." Evelyn tells us 
that near his residence in Surrey, " the maidens yearly planted 
and decked the graves of their defunct sweethearts with rose- 
bushes ;" and Camden, in his " Britannia," remarks : " Here is 
also a certain custom, observed time out of mind, of planting 
rose trees upon the graves, especially by the young men and 
maids who have lost their loves." 

The Rose. 29 

The short and fragile nature of flowers has ever caused them 
to be regarded as types of the frail tenure of this existence — 
so much so, indeed, that many restrain from even plucking 
them, and even regard a present of them as an inauspicious 
omen. A promising young poetess, who has just departed from 
amongst us, embodied this idea in the following touching lines 
— rendered all the more pathetic from the fact that their pub- 
lication only preceded her decease by a few weeks : 

" Oh ! do not give me flowers, my love. 

Oh ! do not give me flowers ! 
'T is an omen sad to give your love — 

These fragile, fading flowers. 
Their life is given by the sun. 

His warmth and light their birth, 
But soon must every fading one 

Shed its pale leaves on earth. 
Oh, do not give me flowers, my love, 

Oh, do not give me flowers ! 
'T is an omen sad to give your love — 

These fragile, fading flowers. 

" I would not wear a wreath of flowers 

Upon my bridal day. 
Or let them strew my path with showers 

Of roses, bright and gay. 
'T is better they should shade a grave 

In cool and lonely dell, 
Where green ferns droop and harebells wave 

Each swaying lilac bell. 
Oh ! do not give me flowers, my love, 

Oh ! do not give me flowers ! 
'T is an omen sad to give your love — 

These fragile, fading flowers." 

Ella Ingram. 

But enough of the saddening thoughts engendered by such 
painful associations. " To fresh fields, and pastures new," O 
loving reader, come ! 

Is there any need to remind you that the rose, the inter- 
preter of our finest feelings and most delicate emotions, is em- 
blematical of joy and love ? Consecrated to Venus, the Goddess 
of Beauty, like her it is a type of all that is most graceful in 
youth, innocence and pleasure. Celebrated by Anacreon as 
" the flower of flowers," and extolled by every succeeding, ay, 
and preceding poet, all the lavish praise it has received has not 

30 Thf Rosk. 

yet enhausted its beauties — has not yet even completed the 
catalogue of its charms. 

Much as Western folks have lauded Queen Rose, their com- 
mendations are faint compared with the adulation (we had 
almost said adoration) her loveliness invokes from the natives 
of Oriental lands. It is true that with them the rose attains a 
magnitude and magnificence scarcely comprehended in these 
colder climes. There, travellers say, the elegance of the trees, 
bending beneath their load of fragrant blossom, is beyond all 
power of description ; and, what renders the attraction greater, 
is the song of the nightingales continually warbHng in the 
bosom of their beloved flowers. And, as 

" Other lands and other floral rites, 
The thought poetic and the pen invites," 

let us see what the admiring Oriental has to say about the 
masterpiece of florigraphy. 

There is scarcely a great name in their literature that has 
not paid tribute to " the bloom of love." Their poems are 
filled with its praise, and quaintly fantastic are some of the 
numberless beautiful legends with which they have entwined 
it ; but of all the charming tales they tell you of the rose, none 
are more poetically valuable than those which describe the 
passionate love borne for it by the nightingale. In the " Book 
of the Nightingale," by the Persian poet Attar, the whole 
feathered creation is represented as appearing before Solomon, 
and making a charge against the nightingale of disturbing 
their rest by the plaintiveness of its warbling. The wise king 
summoned, questioned, and finally acquitted the poor bird, 
when it assured him that its frenzied strains were caused by 
the distracting love it entertained for the rose — a love that 
compelled it to ease its oppressed bosom by breaking forth 
into the touching lamentations for which it was accused. 
This legend is a favourite one with the Persians, who devoutly 
believe that this bird flutters about the rose until, overpowered 
by love and perfume, it falls to the ground stupefied. 

Saadi, Hafiz, Jami, and numberless other Persian poets of 
more or less renown, have sung the praises of "the blooming 
rose;" and from the verses of the last named we learn that 
the first rose appeared in Gulistan at the time the flowers 

The Rose. 31 

demanded a new sovereign from Allah, because the drowsy 
lotus would slumber at night. At first the maiden queen was 
snowy white, and encircled with a protecting guard of thorns ; 
but the poor nightingale fell into such an ecstacy of love over 
her charms, and so recklessly pressed his lovelorn and musical 
heart against those cruel thorns, that his blood, so far as it 
could trickle into the blossom's bosom, dyed it crimson ; and, 
as the poet justly observes, " are not the petals white at the 
extremity where the poor little bird's blood could not reach ? " 

The above-named Gulistan, so famed in Persian story, is the 
place where so many roses were grown that it was a five days' 
camel-ride through the great garden. Thence was brought the 
precious attar for the Shah's own use, and thence came daily 
fresh-plucked petals for the bed of the Sultana, who could not 
sleep if the rose-leaves were too much crumpled. 

Jackson, in his " Journey," says that the roses of the Sinan 
Nile, or " Garden of the Nile," are unequalled, and that mat- 
tresses are made of their leaves for men of rank to recline on. 

In this famous Gulistan it was, too, that they discovered 
how to manufacture the renowned rose wine — a glass of which 
wonderful liquor would make the sternest monarch merciful, or 
make the sickliest mortal slumber amid his pains ; and it was 
in this same Gulistan that they all knew what were those "five 
secrets of Allah " which the five petals of the first rose signified. 
The Turks believe that roses sprang from the perspiration ol 
Mahomet, who christened his white mare which brought him 
from Medina, "Werda," after the snowy blossom — and for 
that reason they never tread upon a rose-leaf, or sufi'er one to 
lie upon the ground. They also, it is said, sculpture a rose on 
the tombstones of females who die unmarried. The story ot 
the learned Zeb, who intimated by a rose-leaf that he might 
be received into the silent academy of Amadan, is a popular 
one amongst Oriental nations. The vacant place for which he 
applied having been filled up before his arrival, the president 
intimated this to him by filling a glass so full of water that a 
single additional drop would have made it run over ; but Zeb 
contrived to place the petal of a rose so delicately upon the 
water that it was not disturbed in the least, and was rewarded 
for his ingenious allusion by instant admission into the society. 

Father Catron, in his " History of the Mogul Empire," says 

32 The Rose. 

that the celebrated Princess Nourmahal filled an entire canal 
with rose-water, upon which she was in the habit of sailing 
with the Great Mogul. The heat of the sun disengaged the 
essential oil from the liquid, and through its being observed 
floating on the surface, the discovery was made of that far- 
famed perfume, "attar of roses." 

Another of those extraordinary princesses of antiquity — 
Cleopatra — was pleased to link her fame to what William 
Sawyer, one of our living poets, calls " the passion-hearted 
rose." The wily Egyptian once received her latest lover, 
Antony, in an apartment covered to a considerable depth with 
rose-leaves ; and Antony himself, when dying, begged to have 
roses scattered o'er his tomb. 

Some of the mythologists ascribe the origin of the rose to 
the beautiful Rhodante, Queen of Corinth, who, to escape from 
the persecutions of her lovers, attempted to seclude herself in 
the Temple of Diana ; being forced from her sanctuary by the 
clamour of the people, she prayed the gods to metamophosise 
her into a flower, and the rose, into which she was changed, 
still bears the blushes that dyed her cheeks when forced to 
expose herself to public gaze. 

The fragrance with which this " earth star " is so richly en- 
dowed, is stated by those same poetical ancients to be derived 
from a cup of nectar thrown over it by Cupid ; and its thorns, 
t-hey say, are the stings of the bees with which the arc of his 
bow was strung. 

The Hindoo mythologists (who are not a whit less poetical 
than their Hellenic, Latin, or Mahommedan brethren) say that 
Pagoda Siri, one of the wives of Vishnu, was discovered in a 
rose. What an appropriate bower was that for a lovely god- 
dess to recline in ! 

Hebrew liteiature also paid due homage to these glorious 
blossoms, which, as William Sawyer says, are " as bright as if 
their blooms were blooms of light ! " One of their suggestive 
fables says that, early one morning, a maiden went into a gar- 
den to gather a garland of roses. There they all grew — mere 
buds, just opening to the ripening sun. " I will not pluck you 
yet," said the girl ; " the sun shall open you first, that you may 
be still more beautiful, and your scent stronger." She returned 
at noonday, and found the loveliest roses gnawed by a worm, 

The Rose. 33 

and bending before the scorching rays of the sun, withered and 
dead ! The young girl wept for her folly ; and the following 
morning she gathered her garland early. 

Another equally appropriate fable from the same collection 
tells of a pious man, who, one day, was sorrowfully pacing up 
and down his garden, and doubting the care of Providence. 
At length he stood transfixed before a rose-bush ; and thus 
spake the spirit of the rose unto him : " Do I not animate a 
beautiful plant — a cup of thanksgiving, full of fragrance to the 
Lord, in the name of all flowers, and an offering of the sweet- 
est incense to Him .? And where do you find me .' Amongst 
thorns. But they do not sting me ; they protect and give me 
sap. This thine enemies do for thee ; and should not thy spirit 
be firmer than that of a frail flower .'" Strengthened, the man 
went thence, and his soul became a cup of thanksgiving for his 

Oriental races appear to entertain some superstitious ideas 
respecting the sanctity of the rose, and evidently rely upon its 
efficacy to obliterate all desecrating powers. Thus, when Sala- 
din reconquered Jerusalem, in 1128, he would not enter the 
Mosque of the Temple, which the Christians had been using 
as a church, until the walls had been thoroughly washed and 
purified with rose-water. Voltaire also relates that after the 
taking of Constantinople by Mahmoud II., in 1453, the church 
of St. Sophia was cleansed in a similar manner with rose-water, 
before it was converted into a mosque. 

The Catholic Church has always regarded the rose as a 
mystical flower ; and formerly it was the custom with her to 
employ it at every ceremony from birth to burial. Large 
vessels filled with rose-water were used at baptisms, in illustra- 
tion of which practice, Bayle relates that at the baptism of 
Ronsard, his nurse, on the way to the church, let him fall upon 
a heap of flowers ; and at that same instant the woman who 
held the vessel of rose-water poured it upon the infant. " All 
this," says Bayle, " has been regarded as a happy omen of the 
great esteem in which his poems would one day be held." 

At marriages and other festivities, in the middle ages, the 
guests wore chaplets of roses. The author of " Percefcret," 
describing an entertainment, says, " Every person wore a chap- 
let of roses on his head. The Constable of France (and 

34 The Rosk. 

probably other great officers at other Courts), when he waited 
on the King at dinner, had one of these crowns. Women, 
when they took the veil, and when they married, were thus 
adorned. Warriors wore their helmets encircled by these 
flowers, as may be seen from their monumental figures. This 
fondness of our ancestors for this fragrant and elegant flower, 
and the various uses to which they applied it, explains a par- 
ticular that at first sight appears somewhat whimsical, which is, 
the bushels of roses sometimes paid by vassals to their lords." 
As an instance of these " whimsical " grants, take one made 
in 1576, by Richard Cox, Bishop of Ely, to Christopher (after- 
wards Sir Christopher) Hatton, of great part of Ely House, 
Holborn, for twenty-one years, in which the tenant covenants 
to pay, on Midsummer Day, a red rose for the gate-house 
and garden ; the Bishop reserving to himself and successors 
free access through the gate-house, for walking in the gardens, 
and gathering twenty bushels of roses yearly. 

The demand for these beautiful flowers was formerly so 
great that it was indeed no unusual thing for vassals, both in 
France and England, to pay bushels of them to their lords ; 
and there are instances of a single rose being deemed an 
equivalent for rent. Thus, Sir William Clopton granted to 
Thomas Smith a piece of ground, called Dokmedwe, in Han- 
stede, for the annual payment of a rose, at the Nativity of 
John the Baptist, to Sir William and his heirs, in lieu of all 
services : dated at Hanstede, on Sunday next before the Feast 
of All Saints, 3 Henry IV., 1402. 

Chaucer is one of the earliest English authors who mentions 
this flower: and in his "Romaunt of the Rose," (a translation 
from the French) he gives many of the emblematical meanings 
assigned to it in the mediaeval ages ; and William Dunbar, one 
of Scotland's truest as well as oldest bards, most poetically 
describes the happy union of Princess Margaret of England 
with his royal master, James IV. of Scotland, under the alle- 
gorical title of " The Thistle and the Rose." 

In the days of chivalry roses were often worn by chevaliers 
at tournaments, as an emblem of their devotion to love and 
beauty ; knights] also at tournaments wore roses embroidered 
in their sleeves, as an emblem that gentleness should accom- 
pany courage, and that beauty was the reward of valour. 

The Rose. 


The Golden Rose which the Pope presents to contemporary- 
sovereigns is an institution of the middle ages : the flower is 
considered an emblem of the mortality of the body, and the 
gold of which it is composed, of the immortality of the soul. 

There is an old mosaic, in the church of St. Susan at Rome, 
in which Charlemagne is represented kneeling, and receiving 
from St. Peter a standard covered with roses. 

There are numerous traditions of the Catholic Church with 
which " the flower of flowers " is associated. Marullus tells a 
story of a holy virgin named Dorothea, who suffered martyr- 
dom in Csesarea, under the government of Fabricius, and who 
converted to Christianity a scribe named Theophilus, by send- 
ing him, in the winter-time, some roses out of Paradise. 

It has already been shown that the rose was occasionally 
used as typical of sorrowful feelings, and the Greeks, who 
realized all their ideals, not only dedicated it to Venus as an 
emblem of love and beauty, and to Aurora as an emblem of 
youth, but also to Cupid as an emblem of fugacity and danger, 
from the fleeting nature of its charms and the wounds inflicted 
by its thorns. 

In many countries the rose seems to be the flower most 
frequently connected with the death of youths and children. 
" In Poland," says Phillips, "they cover the coffins of children 
with roses ; and when the funeral passes the streets, a multitude 
of these flowers are thrown from the windows." 

Mrs. Edward Thomas, in some expressive lines upon the 
death of a child, alluding to a singular custom observed bj, 
the Mexicans, says, 

" They wreathe the very thought of death with flowers, , 
And make his altar fair as marriage shine;" 

in a foot-note subjoining these particulars : "At the funeral of 
a child in Acapulco, Mexico, the body was dressed magnifi- 
cently, crowned with roses^ and the table on which it was laid 
was covered with flowers. The table was carried through the 
streets with the child on it ; three or four men and boys walked 
in front firing rockets ; and the military band followed, playing 
the gayest music. Regarding the death of children as merely 
their translation to an angelic existence, such an event amongst 
these people is an occasion of joy rather than moUrning." 

36 The Rose. 

This custom reminds one of the habits of a certain Thracian 
tribe, of whom Herodotus relates that they mourned at the 
child's birth into the misery of this world, and held jubilee at 
the interment of their relatives, because of their dehverance 
from an infinity of ills. 

The French carry out to excess, not only the custom of 
decorating graves with flowers, but also the penalties ordained 
for those who injure the funeral blossoms. "Le Moniteur" 
relates that a woman named Bade, who was employed at a 
handsome stipend to attend to the flowers planted upon a 
tomb in the Cimetiere du Sud, finding that two magnificent 
rose-trees, which overshaded the grave, were withered, instead 
of purchasing others to supply their place, abstracted two ot 
a similar species from a neighbouring tomb, and exchanged 
them for those that had died under her care, or rather neglect. 
The superintendent of the cemetery discovered the theft, and 
knowing that it was not her first offence, made a complaint 
against the woman, and the consequence was that she received 
a twelvemonth's imprisonment ! 

These same French have a very pretty custom connected 
with the rose, which in some respects resembles the old English 
one of selecting a May Queen. The inhabitants of a village 
select the girl they deem best deserving the prize of virtue, 
and, carrying her in triumph to a neighbouring church, there 
crown her, with a wreath of roses, queen of their village for 
the ensuing year. Tradition asserts that this innocent festival 
was first instituted in the sixth century, at Salency, his birth- 
place, by St. Medard (the French St. Swithin), Bishop of Noyon ; 
and, adds the story, the good prelate had the pleasure of crown- 
ing his own sister as first Rose-Queen of Salency. 

Another foreign festival appertaining to this emblem of joy, 
was that held in the middle ages at the Italian city of Treviso, 
where the inhabitants periodically erected a fortress of carpets, 
silk hangings, and similar materials. The city maidens took 
possession, after having seen that their stronghold was well 
supplied with spices, flowers — especially rose.s — and other war- 
like missiles. When all was prepared, the fortalice was vigor- 
ously attacked by a party of the opposite sex, who were met 
by showers of rose-water and volleys of sweet things, until, as 
in duty bound, they surrendered at discretion. Amongst the 

The Rose. 

many high and mighty ones who came to witness or take part 
in this entertainment was the German Emperor Barbarossa ; 
and he is stated to have declared it to have been one of the 
greatest diversions that he had ever enjoyed. 

These attractive customs were doubtless derived from the 
East: somewhat similar ones have existed in Persia li/om time 
immemorial. Sir William Ouseley tells us, in his " Travels in 
Persia," that when he entered the flower garden beloiiging to 
the governor of the castle near Fassa, he was overwhelmed 
with roses ; and in the present days, when these beloved 
flowers are in full bloom, bands of young men parade the 
streets of the cities, singing, dancing, playing, and pelting 
those they meet with showers of roses. In return for these 
amusements, the spectators reward them with trifling gra- 
tuities, with which they then betake themselves to places of 
public entertainment. 

In Smyrna they demonstrate their love for the queen of 
flowers by calling one of their streets, after her, " The Street 
of Roses." The Londoners also, it is true, have several Rose 
Streets ; but, alas ! none of them are so fragrant as their name 
would seem to imply. 

Amongst many nations of antiquity it was customary to 
crown bridal couples with wreaths of white and red roses; and 
in the processions of the Corybantes, Cybele, the protecting 
deity of cities, was pelted with these odoriferous blossoms. 
The Roman generals who had achieved any remarkable vic- 
tory were permitted to have roses sculptured on their shields. 
Rose-water was the favourite perfume of the Roman ladies, 
and the most luxurious even used it in their baths. In that 
wonderfully entertaining old romance, "The Golden Ass" of 
Apuleius, the Latin prototype of " Gil Bias," the hero, Lucius, 
recovers his human form by eating some of the roses from the 
crown which the priest of Isis carried in the procession annu- 
ally held in honour of the goddess Cybele. 

A writer in the " Household Words," in an article containing 
some exquisite bits about those most exquisite of all things, 
roses, speaking of a certain autumnal specimen of the tribe, 
thus humorously tells its tale : " It is," she says, " a turncoat 
flower, whose history I blush to relate, but averts your censure 
like other fair offenders; for, if to its lot some floral errors fall, 

38 The Rose. 

look in its face, and you '11 forget them all ! It made its appear- 
ance during Louis the Eighteenth's time, and was named Rose 
du Roi, or the King's Rose, in compliment to him. But when 
Buonaparte came over from Elba and put the King to flight, 
the proprietor, thinking that his new rose with any other name 
would bring in more money, deemed it good policy to re- 
christen it Rose d'Empereur, or the Emperor's Rose. But the 
Hundred Days were a limited number, and the Battle of Wa- 
terloo again changed the aspect of political affairs. The rose 
ratted once more, and was re-styled Rose du Roi. It is known 
in England as the Crimson Perpetual ; I should have called it 
the Crimson Weathercock." 

This rose was apparently a time-server and a political rene- 
gade; but the next to be spoken of were fierce and faithful to 
the cause which took its name from them. Shakspeare has 
embalmed the legendary history attached to the York and 
Lancaster roses in his play of " Henry VI." The story runs 
that various adherents of the rival Yorkist and Lancastrian 
factions were disputing in the Temple Gardens, when Edward 
Mortimer's nephew and heir, Richard Plantagenet, interrupted 
the conversation by saying, 

"Let him that is a trae-bom gentleman, 
And stands upon the honour of his birth. 
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth, 
From off this briar pluck a white rose with me." 

To which the Earl of Suffolk made reply, 

" Let him that is no coward and no flatterer. 
But dare maintain the party of the tnith, 
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me." 

On their respective followers imitating their example, the Earl 
of Warwick prophesies that the result of this feud 

" Shall send between the red rose and the white 
A thousand souls to death and deadly night." 

And history duly records how mournfully his prediction was 
verified by the succeeding Wars of the Roses, as they are 
termed ; but also records how the effusion of blood was at 
last stayed by the union of the two rival families in the mar- 
riage of Henry VII. with the heiress of the house of York, 

The Rose. 


thus affording an opportunity of creating the very pretty floral 
fancy typified in the crimson and white striped rose, that hence- 
forth was considered emblematical of the alliance. 

Not only has this beautiful flower been selected as the signal 
for contention and slaughter, but, strange to relate, has at times 
been even the means of almost — if not quite — killing some 
sensitive members of the genus homo. Many have heard of 
the singular horror with which the odour of certain flowers 
inspires some people; but few are aware that to " die of a rose 
in aromatic pain " is something more than a poetical fiction ; 
and yet many such things are on record. Amatus Lusitanus 
is cited by Dr. Millinger, amongst many other authorities, and 
he relates the case of a monk who fainted when he beheld a 
rose, and never quitted his cell while that flower was in bloom. 
Ofila gives the instance of the painter Vincent, who was seized 
with violent vertigo whenever there were roses in the room. 

Who would have thought that a flower — only a flower — 
could have wrought so much pleasure and pain in this mun- 
dane sphere .■' Truly " roses are linked by the chain of asso- 
ciation with a thousand chapters in the history of our race,: 
they point to the Wars of the Roses ; to Saadi and the Gulistan ; 
to the Pope's Golden Rose ; to Rosamund, surnamed of rosa 
viundi ; to the 'bower of roses by Bendemeer's stream;' to 
the Rosicrucians, and everything else that is or was in the 
least degree roseate." 

Few are those who will not be able to exclaim with Eliza 
Cook, when recalling to mind how many past events of their 
life have been associated with these universally admired blooms, 

" There is much in my past bearing wa)nnarks of flowers, 
The purest and rarest in odour and bloom ; 
There are beings and breathings and places and hours 
Still trailing in roses o'er Memory's tomb." 

But what are all our rosy customs and festivals compared 
with Oriental ones.? Already have several Persian legends 
connected with the rose been alluded to ; but it is impossible 
to exhaust the theme. " Lalla Rookh " is replete with roseate 
similes ; for, as Moore therein remarks, when speaking of the 
Feast of Roses, 

' That joyous time, when pleasures pour 
Profusely round, and in their shower 

40 The Rosr. 

Hearts open like the season's rose, 

The flow'ret of a hundred leaves, 
Expanding while the dew-fall flows, 

And every leaf its balm receives." 

Tavernier tells us that it is affirmed by the Ghebers, or Fire- 
Worshippers, of Persia, that when Abraham, their great pro- 
phet, was thrown into the fire by order of Nimrod, the flame 
turned instantly into a bed of roses, where the child sweetly 
reposed. Moore thus availed himself of the tradition : 

" Is sweet and welcome as the bed 

For their own infant prophet spread. 
When pitying Heaven to roses turn'd 

The death-flames that beneath him bum'd." 

All roses are justly celebrated, but "the rose of Cashmere," 
says Forster, " for its brilliancy and delicacy of odour has long 
been proverbial in the East." 

" Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere 
With its roses, the brightest that earth ever gave?" 

demands Tom Moore ; and really, if it is anything like Sir 
Robert Porter's description of one of the royal gardens of 
Persia, no one can blame the poet's high-flown rhapsodies. 

" On my first entering this bower of fairyland," says Sir 
Robert, " I was struck with the appearance of two rose-trees 
full fourteen feet high, laden with thousands of flowers in 
every degree of expansion, and of a bloom and delicacy of 
scent that embued the whole atmosphere with exquisite per- 
fume. Indeed, I believe that in no country in the world does 
the rose grow in such perfection as in Persia ; in no country is 
it so cultivated and prized by the natives. Their gardens and 
courts are crowded by its plants, their rooms ornamented with 
vases filled with its gathered bunches, and every bath strewed 
with the full-blown flowers, plucked from the ever-replenished 
stems. . . . But in this delicious garden of Negaaristan 
the eye and the smell are not the only senses regaled by the 
presence of the rose. The ear is enchanted by the wild and 
beautiful notes of multitudes of nightingales, whose warblings 
seem to increase in melody and softness with the unfolding of 
their favourite flower. Here, indeed, the stranger is most 
powerfully reminded that he is in the country of the nightin- 
gale and the rose," 

The Rose. 

The loves of the nightingale and the rose have already been 
more than once alluded to, but the subject is inexhaustible. 
This melodious bird appears in the East at the season when 
its adored flower begins to blow, which has engendered the 
poetical' fiction that it bursts forth from its bud at the song of 
its admirer. Says the admired poet, Jami, " The nightingales 
warbled their enchanting notes and rent the thin veils of the 
rose-bud and the rose;" and Moore has sung, in his soft song, 

" Oh, sooner shall the rose of May 
Mistake her own sweet nightingale, 
And to some meaner minstrel's lay 

Open her bosom's glowing veil. 
Than love shall ever doubt a tone^ 
A breath — of the beloved one ! " 

Mrs. Browning has alluded in the most exquisite tones to 
thissweet legend in her " Lay of the Early Rose" — that foolish 
flower that oped her petals ere the summer came, and deemed 

"Ten nightingales shall flee 
Their woods for love of me. " 

Jami asserts with poetic freedom that " You may place a hand- 
full of fragrant herbs and flowers before the nightingale ; yet 
he wishes not in his constant heart for more than the .sweet 
breath of his beloved rose." 

" Though rich the spot 

With every flower this earth has got, 
What is it to the nightingale 

If there his darling rose is not?"^ 

asks the author of " Lalla Rookh." The following lines are 
from a lyric of Hafiz, wherein the poet assumes the character 
of a nightingale in addressing his love : 

" Once more see the nightingale, languid and faint, 
Pours forth to the garden his sorrowful plaint : 
May the rose ever flourish in beauty and bloom ; 
May evil ne'er touch her, misfortune ne'er come ; 
Long, long may she flourish wherever she 's seen, 
And rule 'midst the flowers as the sovereign queen ! 
But, oh, may she smile with less scornful an eye. 
Nor leave her poor lovers to languish and die ! " 

Lord Byron did not overlook the pretty fable, and in the 
" Bride of Abydos" makes a solitary rose bloom above Zuleika's 

42 The Rose. 

tomb, over which the love-lorn nightingale poured forth his 
plaintive notes: 

" A single rose is shedding there 
Its lonely lustre, meek and pale : 

It looks as planted by despair- 
So white, so faint — the slightest gale 

Might whirl the leaves on high ; 

And yet, though storms and blight assail. 

And hands more rude than wintry sky 
May wring it from its stem ; in vain — 
To-morrow sees it bloom again ! . . • 

To it the livelong night there sings 

A bird unseen, but not remote ; 
Invisible his airy wings. 
But soft as harp that Houri strings 

His long entrancing note. " 

Syria is thought by Richardson to have derived Its name 
from suri, a beautiful and dehcate species of rose for which 
the country has been celebrated from time immemorial ; hence 
its Oriental name, Suristan, the Land of Roses. There, as Byron 
sings in the " Giaour," is 

" The rose, o'er crag or vale, 

Sultana of the nightingale. 

The maid for whom his melody, 

His thousand songs, are heard on high. 

Blooms blushing to her lover's tale : 

His queen, the garden queen, his rose, 

Unbent by winds, unchill'd by snows, 

Far from the winters of the west. 

By every breeze and season blest. 

Returns the sweets by nature given 

In softest incense back to heaven." 

The violet is very highly prized in the East; but, says Hafiz, 
" When the rose enters the garden, even the violet prostrates 
itself before it with its face to the ground." 

But Persian legends of and allusions to the queen of flowers 
are innumerable, and still many blossoms nearer home await 
our culling. One of the most memorable plants in existence 
is the renowned rose-tree of Hildersheim, said to have been 
set by Charlemagne, in commemoration of a visit of respect 
paid to him by the ambassador of the celebrated Caliph Haroun 
Alraschid; and who, as a symbol of his authority, carried a 
purple banner, on which were embroidered the arms of his 
sovereign, being roses on a golden field. The wonderful legend 

The Hose. 43 

of the ancient tree runs thus: Louis the Pious came to the 
district on a hunting expedition, and after the sport ordered 
Mass to be said in the open air. On retiring to his habitation, 
the priest who had officiated at the ceremony missed the Holy 
Image, and his search for it proving fruitless, he returned to 
the spot, and to his surprise beheld it between the branches of 
a wild rose-tree. Attempting to regain it, he was awe-stricken 
to find that it eluded his grasp, and, after several vain efforts 
to obtain the sacred object, he went back to Louis, and informed 
him and his Court of what had taken place. All rushed forth 
and fell on their knees before the miraculous tree, over which 
the superstitious monarch ordered a cathedral to be built. Dr. 
Grashop, of Hildersheim, gives the following description of its 
present condition : The roots are buried in a sort of coffin- 
shaped vault under the middle altar of the crypt, which crypt 
is proved by known documents to have been built in the year 
818, and to have survived the burning of the other parts of the 
cathedral on the 21st of January, 1013, and the 23rd of March, 
1 146; so that there can be little doubt that the claim of this 
rose-tree — ^which, despite its thousand years of age, still blos- 
soms profusely — to be the oldest in the world, is just. 

The affection entertained in all countries for the rose, and 
its constant association with humanity, have caused its various 
developments from bud to scattered bloom, to be universally 
deemed emblematic of man's transitory existence, as also of 
" the course of true love." Berkeley, in his " Utopia," describes 
lovers as declaring their passion by presenting to the fair be- 
loved a rose-bud just beginning to open, our symbol of a con- 
fession of love. If the lady accepted and wore the bud, she 
was supposed to favour his pretensions. As time intensified 
the lover's affection, he followed up the first present by that 
of a half-blown rose, significant of love; and this was agam 
followed by one full blown, typical of etigagement ; and if the 
lady wore this last, she was considered as engaged for life. 

Leigh Hunt, in his " Descent of Liberty," thus alludes to 
the infant loveliness of this flower: 

" Of the rose, full-lipped and wann. 
Round about whose riper foiin 
Her slender virgin train are seen 
In their close-fit caps of green." 

44 The Rose. 

And again, to 

"The sheath-enfolded fans of rosy bushes. 
Ready against their blushes. " 

Spenser has bequeathed us a very felicitous stanza about the 
budding rose : 

"Ah I see the virgin rose, how sweetly she 
Doth first peep forth with bashful modesty, 

That fairer seems the less ye see her may ! 
Lo ! see soon after how, more bold and free, 
Her bar^d bosom she doth broad display ! 
Lo ! see soon after how she fades and falls awayl" 

Sir Walter Scott tells us that 

"The rose is fairest when 't is budding new, 

And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears; 
The rose is sweetest washed with morning dew, 
And love is loveliest when embalmed with tears. " 

But of all the beautiful things said about this most beautiful 
of Flora's children, the most delicate and the most apposite 
appears to us to be " The Dying Rose-bud's Lament," by a 
transatlantic poetess, the late Mrs. Osgood. 

" Ah, me ! ah, woe is me ! " How oft, while yet an infant flower. 

That I should perish now, My crimson cheek I 've laid 

With the dear sunlight just let in Against the green bars of my bower, 

Upon my balmy brow. Impatient of the shade ; 

" My leaves, instinct with glowing life, " And pressing up and peeping through 
Were quivering to unclose ; Its small but precious vistas, 

My happy heart with love was rife — Sighed for the lovely light and dew 
I was almost a rose. That blessed my elder sisters. 

" Nerved by a hope, rich, warm, intense, " I saw the sweet breeze rippling o'er 

Already I had risen Their leaves that loved the play, 

Above my cage's curving fence. Though the light thief stole all the store 

My green and graceful prison. Of dew-drop gems away. 

" My pouting lips, by Zephyr pressed, ' ' I thought how happy I should be 

Were just prepared to part. Such diamond wreaths to wear. 

And whispered to the wooing wind And frolic with a rose's glee 

The rapture of my heart. With sunbeam, bird, and air. 

" In new-bom fancies revelling, " Ah, me ! ah, woe is me ! that I, 

My mossy cell half-riven. Ere yet my leaves unclose, 

Each thrilling leaflet seemed a wing With all my wealth of sweets, must die 

To bear me into heaven. Before I am a rose !" 

It scarcely appears possible that this sweet, suggestive lay 
could be the production of a girl only fourteen years old, yet 

The Rose. 45 

that that was her age at the time of its composition poor Edgar 
Poe, an intense admirer of the poetess, assures us. The fol- 
lowing chat with the emblem of love and beauty, by Mrs. 
Sigourney, another American poetess, will probably read coldly 
after Frances Osgood's poem : 

"Most glorious rose, 
You are the queenly belle. On you all eyes 
Admiring turn. Doubtless you might indite 
Romances from your own sweet history — 
They 're quite the fashion now, and crowd the page 
Of every periodical. Wilt tell 
None of your heart adventures ? Never mind ! 
We plainly read the Zephyr's stolen kiss 
In your deep blush ; so where 's the use to seal 
Your lips so cunningly, when all the world 
Calls you the flower of love?" 

Yes! all the world knows that the beautiful rose is the em- 
blem of love ; but none alluded to the fact more masterly than 
did " Love's own minstrel," Anacreon, and in these verses Leigh 
Hunt has ably transmuted the glowing words of the glorious 
old Tean into our modest English tongue: 

" The rose, the flower of love, " Oh, the rose, the first of flowers, 

Mingle with our quaffing ; Darling of the early bowers, 

^ /* ° ' E'en the gods for thee have places,; 

The rose, the lovely leaved, ^i^^^^ ^^^^ Cytherea's boy 

Round our brows be weavcd, Weaves about his locks for joy, 

Genially laughing. Dancing with the Graces. 

But the short life of this august flower ofttimes causes it, 
when fading, to be deemed a suitable representative oi fleeting 
beauty, and many are the " morals " that poet and philosopher 
have deduced from this stage; but there is also another record 
to be made, and that is of its fragrance after death: the flush 
of beauty may be gone from its withered petals, but the scent 
of the rose will cling to it still ; and so, even when life is over, 
we yet place, as Barry Cornwall remarks, 

" First of all, the rose; because its breath _ 
Is rich beyond the rest ; and when it dies, 
It doth bequeath a charm to sweeten death. " 

Yes, kind friend ! even a dead rose — emblem of sweet memories 
— " doth bequeath a charm to sweeten death," because, though 
" pale, and hard, and dry as stubble-wheat," yet, as Elizabeth 
Barrett Browning tells us, 

46 The Rose. 

" The heart doth recognize thee, 

Alone, alone ! the heart doth smell thee sweet, 

Doth view thee fair, doth judge thee most complete, 

Perceiving all those changes that disguise thee. 

Yes, and the heart doth owe thee 
More love, dead rose, than to any roses bold, 
Which Julia wears at dances, smiling cold ! 

Lie still upon this heart, which breaks below thee 1 " 

Of all the poets that sing the praises of the roses, none seem 
to do so more con amore than Chaucer: his heroes and heroines 
are invariably garlanded with its flowers, as are his songs 
scented with its fragrance; and in the " Romaunt of the Rose " 
he dowers his favourite flowers with quite a poetical apotheosis. 
How well, too, does he describe Venus as wearing " on her head 
her rosy garland, white and red." Of roses white and red 
Shakspeare's self does say : 

" The roses fearfully on thorns did stand, 
One blushing shame, another white despair ; 
A third, nor red nor white, had stolen of both. '' 

St. Cecilia was said to have received a miraculous crown of 
roses from heaven ; and Tennyson tells how 

"Her hair wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily." 

To step from sacred to profane, how prettily has Bowring 
translated from the Russ of Kastrov, this evidence of the frailty 
of lovers' vows : 

" The rose is my favourite flower : "I scarcely the record had made. 

On its tablets of crimson I swore Ere Zephyr, in frolicsome play, 

That up to my last living hour On his light airy pinions conveyed 

I never would think of thee more. Both tablets and promise away." 

Miss Kent, in " Flora Domestica," remarks that roses, when 
they are associated with a moral meaning, are generally identi- 
fied with mere pleasure ; but some writers, with a juster senti- 
ment, have made them emblems of the most refined virtue. 

In the "Orlando Innamorato," Orlando puts roses in his 
helmet, which guard his ears against a Syren; and in Apuleius' 
" Golden Ass," as already recorded, Lucius, who had been 
transformed into an ass, regains his human shape upon eating 
some of these flowers. 

The red rose, which, from its long residence amongst us, has 

The Rose. 47 

been named the English rose, is thus patriotically spoken of 
by Browne : 

" Whence she upon her breast — (love's sweet repose) — 
Doth bring the queen of flowers, the EngUsh rose." 

Human life is compared with this flower by Keble, in the 
" Christian Year." In one sweet verse he bids us 

"Let the dainty rose awhile, 

Her bashful fragrance hide — 
Rend not her silken veil too soon, 
But leave her in her own sweet noon, 

To flourish and abide." 

Philip Bailey, author of "Festus," that magnificent store- 
house of " seed poetry," as our present Laureate appropriately 
names it, says : 

" Love is like a rose, 
And a month it may not see 
Ere it withers where it grows. " 

We would give love and beauty longer life, but, alas ! poli- 
tician as well as poet are against us ; for hear what Charles 
James Fox has rhymed about their emblem bloom : 

"The rose, the sweetly blooming rose, "But, oh! how soon its sweets are gone. 
Ere from the tree 't is torn, How soon it withering lies ! 

Is like the charms which beauty shows So, when the eve of life comes on, 
In life's exulting morn. Sweet beauty fades and dies. 

"Then since the fairest form that's made 
Soon withering we shall find, 
Let us possess what ne'er shall fade — 
The beauties of the mind." 

There is a highly imaginative stanza in "Alnwick Castle," 
by Halleck, the American poet, in which these token-flowers 
are suggestively introduced : 

" Wild roses by the Abbey towers 

Are gay in their young bud and bloom — 
They were born of a race of funeral flowers. 
That garlanded, in long-gone hours, 
A Templar's knightly tomb." 

The queen of flowers has had many wild rhapsodies poured 
forth in her praise, and many quaint things have been said of 
her powers ; but surely no one ever equalled the marvellous 
Culpepper in ascribing wonders to her influence ; and yet, not- 

4'8 The Rose. 

withstanding the fact that he endows her with more curative 
abilities than a whole college of physicians would dare to aspire 
to, he has the impudence to remark : " What a pother have 
authors made with roses ! what a racket have they kept ! I 
shall add, that the red roses are under Jupiter, damask under 
Venus, white under the Moon, and," — here the old astrological 
doctor attempts probably his solitary intentional jest — " Pro- 
vence under the King of France." 

This last-named and extraordinary fragrant rose does not 
take its name from Provence, as is generally supposed, but 
from Provins, a small town about fifty miles from Paris, where 
it was formerly much cultivated. 

But the lineage, legends, and symbolic associations of the 
rose are an inexhaustible theme ; every poet has hymned, 
and every minstrel sung, the praises of this floral queen, and 
nothing now remains to tell, save these lines of Mrs. Hemans, 
in which all the flower's endowments are found combined 

" How much of memory dwells amidst thy bloom, 
Rose ! ever wearing beauty for thy dower ! 
The bridal day — the festival — the tomb — 

Thou hast thy part in eadh, thou stateliest flower! 

" Therefore, with thy soft breath come floating by 
A thousand images of love and grief; 
Dreams, filled with tokens of mortality. 

Deep thoughts of all things beautiful and brief. 

" Not such thy spells o'er those that hailed thee first 
In the clear light of Eden's golden day ; 
There thy rich leaves to crimson glory burst, 
Linked with no dim remembrance of decay. 

"Rose! for the banquet gathered, and the bier; 
Rose ! coloured now by human hope or pain ; 
Surely, where death is not, nor change, nor fear, 
Yet we may meet thee, joy's own flower, again!" 





IF the rose is the favourite of poets of all nations, this 
delicious emblem of life-long hope is the especial darling- 
of British bards ; and, although there is not a country in all 
Europe where the common Hawthorn does not display its 
scented snowy blossom, it is to the English anthology that 
the florigraphists must refer for full and frequent descriptions 
of its beauties and associations. From the days of dear old 
Chaucer downwards has this chosen bride of May ever been 
belauded by our poets and beloved by our people. 

By the Greeks, Evelyn tells us, the hawthorn was deemed 
one of the fortunate trees : they accounted it a symbol of the 
conjugal union since the jovial shepherds carried it at the rape of 
the Sabines, ever after considering it propitious. Its flowering 
branches were borne aloft at their marriage celebrations, and 
the newly-wedded pair were even lighted to the nuptial cham- 
ber with torches of its wood. Lavish, indeed, were the floral 
decorations of a Hellenic bridal ; for that clear-headed nation 
fully sympathized with such feelings as Charlotte Smith ex- 
presses when she hopes that 

"Still may fancy's brightest flowers be wove 
Round the gold chains of hymeneal love. " 

This flower-loving folk still garland their brides with haw- 
thorn wreaths, and strew the marriage altar with its bloomy 

In the " Odyssey," Homer represents Ulysses, on his return 
to his native land, finding old Laertes, his father, seated in his 
garden alone, having sent his men 

"To search the woods for sets of flowery thorn, 
Their orchards' bounds to strengthen and adorn.'' 

The Turks regard the presentation of a branch ol hawthorn 


go The Hawthorn. 

as denoting the donor's desire to receive from the object of his 
affection that token of love denominated a kiss. 

In France, the hawthorn, amongst other suggestive titles, is 
generally designated L'Epine noble, from the belief that it 
furnished the crown of thorns which was placed upon the 
Saviour's head previous to His crucifixion. 

Singular to relate, unlike those of the roses, the thorns from 
which this bush receives its common appellation, are often made 
to disappear under the effects of cultivation. 

Ronsard — sometimes styled the French Chaucer — wrote a 
beautiful address to the hawthorn, thus faithfully rendered : 

" Fair hawthorn flowering, " In merry Spring-tide, 

With green shade bowering When to woo his bride 

Along this lovely shade ; The nightingale comes again, 

To thy foot around Thy boughs among 

With his long arms wound He warbles his song, 

A wild vine has mantled thee o'er. That lightens a lover's pain. 

* * * « • 

" In armies twain, " Gentle hawthorn, thrive, 

Red ants have ta'en And, for ever alive, 

Their fortress beneath thy stock ; May'st thou blossom as now in thy prime ; 
And in clefts of thy trunk By the wind unbroke, 

Tiny bees have sunk And the thunder-stroke, 

A cell where honey they lock. Unspoiled by the axe of time." 

Having heard what has been said of this shrub by the 
French, let us hear what our own dear old English Chaucer 
has to say about it. In his quaint, antique phraseology he 
frequently alludes to its beauties ; thus, in his " Court of Love," 
does he tell how 

" Furth goth all the Courte, both most and lest, 
To fetche the flouris freshe, and braunche and blome. 
And namely hauthome brought both page and grome, 
With freshe garlandis partly blew and white, 
And than rejoisin in their grete delight." 

Then he still more sweetly sings : 

'Amongst the many buds proclaiming May 
(Decking the meads in holiday array. 
Striving who shall surpass in bravery) 
Mark the fair blooming of the hawthorn tice; 
Who, finely clothed in a robe of white. 
Feeds full the wanton eye with May's delight. 
Yet for the bravery that she is in 
Doth neither handle card nor wheel to spin, 
Nor cliangeth robes but twice ; is never seen 
In other colours than in white or green. 

The Hawthorn. 


Learn then, content, young shepherd, from this tree, 
Whose greatest wealth is Nature's livery." 

The scent of the hawthorn is proverbially sweet ; and this 

same Dan Chaucer, in his " Complaint of the Black Knight," 

remarks : 

" There sawe I growing eke the freshe hauthome, 
In white motley, that so sote doeth ysmell." 

In the olden days our jolly forefathers made great use of 
this aromatic-smelling tree, which then, as now, was more 
commonly known by its favourite name of "May," from its 
flowering in that month. May, the queen of blossoms, was 
greeted on her arrival with all the royal rejoicings that her 
incoming deserved, and few, from sovereign down to poorest 
peasant, but strove their best to pay her due honour. May 
was kept universally, and, it is said, even the avenues of the 
metropolis looked like bowers, from the boughs which each 
man hung over his doorway. The young people of both sexes 
went a-Maying, accompanied by bands of music ; people of 
all ranks joined in the pastimes, from Bluff King Hal, who 
rode a-Maying from Greenwich to Shooters' Hill, with Queen 
Katharine and his merry Court ; indeed, " every man, except 
impediment," as old Stowe quaintly remarks, "would walk 
into the sweet meadows and green woods, there to rejoice 
their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and 
with the harmony of birds praising God in their kind." No 
Oriental Feast of Roses was more sacredly observed or carried 
out with greater glee than was the old English custom of May- 
ing. Houses and churches were as habitually decked on May- 
day with the blossom of the hawthorn, as they were at Christ- 
mas with holly ; and, as Spenser tells us in his " Shepherd's 
Calendar," would 

Youth's folk now flocken everywhere, 
To gather May-baskets and smelling breere; 
And home they hasten the posts to dight, 
And all the kirlc-pUlars ere daylight. 
With hawthorn-buds, and sweet eglantine, 
And garlands of roses, and sops-in-wine." 

Herrick, in his " Hesperides," has a beautiful idyll descrip- 
tive of the manner in which they went a-Maying in his days ; 
and in it he thus invokes his mistress : 


52 The Hawthorn. 

" Each flower has wept and bow'd toward the east. 
Above an hour since, yet you are not dress'd — 

Nay, not so much as out of bed, 

When all the birds have matins said. 

And sung their thankful hymns ; 't is sin, 
. Nay, profanation, to keep in ; 
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day 
Spring sooner than the lark to fetch in May. 
" Come, my Corinna ! come, and coming, mark 
How each field turns a street — each street a park, 

Made green, and trimm'd with trees ! see how 

Devotion gives each house a bough 

Or branch ! — each porch, each door, ere this 

An ark, a tabernacle is. 
Made up of whitethorn neatly interwove. 
As if here were those cooler shades of love. 

Can such delights be in the street 

And open fields, and we not see 't? 

Come, we '11 abroad, and let 's obey 

The proclamation made for May, 
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying, 
But, my Corinna ! come, let 's go a-Maying. 

" There 's not a budding boy or girl, this day. 
But is got up and gone to bring in May; 

A deal of youth, ere this, is come 

Back, and with whitethorn laden home ; 

Some have dispatched their cakes and cream 

Before that we have left to dream ; 
And some have wept and woo'd and plighted troth. 
And chose their priest ere we can cast off sloth : 

Many a green govm has been given. 

Many a kiss, both odd and even ; 

Many a glance, too, has been sent 

From out the eye, love's firmament; 
Many a jest told of the key's betraying 
This night, and locks picked ; yet we 're not a-Maying. 

" Come ! let us go while we are in our prime. 
And take the harmless foUy of the time." 

In these lines of the old Royalist parson-poet there is much 
that will appear obscure to many of the present generation,, 
but by contemporaries all his allusions were comprehended 
and admired. These May-day morning practices are generally 
supposed to have been the lingering remains of the rites insti- 
tuted by the ancients in honour of Flora, to whom the last four 
days of May were dedicated. The alteration in the calendar, 
by throwing this innocent festival back twelve days, soon obli- 
terated what fragments of it time had spared, because, when. 

2 HE Hawthorn. 53 

May-day now arrives, the weather is mostly too inclement for 
outdoor sports. Many an old villager may yet be found 
lamenting the difference between the May-days of his youth 
and those of to-day : in some out-of-the-way rural districts, 
many years elapsed before folks submitted "to lose twelve 
days out of their lives," as they deemed it. 

In country places it was formerly the custom for lads and 
lasses to get up soon after midnight, and, accompanied by 
such music as the village afforded, to walk in a body to some 
neighbouring wood ; there they gathered as many branches 
and nosegays of flowers as they could carry, and then returned 
home about sunrise in joyous procession, garlanded with flowers, 
and laden with blossomy boughs, with which to decorate the 
doors and windows. Shakspeare did not fail to note the eager- 
ness with which May-day pastimes were looked forward to and 
indulged in in his days, and remarks : 

' "T is as much impossible, 
Unless we swept them from the door with cannons, 
To scatter 'em, as 't is to make 'em sleep 
On May-day morning." 

It has been seen how beautifully Herrick conjured his ladye- 
love to go a-Maying ; and perhaps this more modern, though 
less worthy, invocation may be used here — not so much for its 
value as for its appropriateness : 

"Oh, we will go a-Maying, love, And cowslips slim, 'mid leafy green, 

A-Maying we will go, Rise in the unmown meads. 

Beneath the branches swaying, love, And buttercups are weighing, love. 

With weight of scented snow. The gold they soon must strow— 

Laburnums' golden tresses, love, Where we will go a-Maying, love, 

Float in the perfumed air; Where we will Maying go. 
Which heedless their caresses, love. 

Seeks violets in their lair ; " The hawthorn's bloom is fallmg, love, 

And with their scents a-playine, Iovr, We must no longer wait; 

It gambols to and fro — Each bird is blithely caJling, love. 

Where we will go a-Maying, love, Unto his chosen mate; 

Where we will Maying go. Each bud unblown is swelling, love, 

Green grow the vernal fields ; 

"The bees are busy humming, love. Each insect leaves its dwelling, love, 

Amid the opening blooms. And all to Summer yields : 

Foretelling Summer 's coming, love — The mowers are out haymg, love, 

Farewell to wintry glooms. Woodbine is in full blow — 

The primrose pale, from crinkly sheen, Where we will go a-Maying, love. 

Up from the ground now speeds ; Where we will Maying go." 

John Ingram. 

54 The Hawthorn. 

These pleasant diversions were not altogether confined to 
the country, however, for, in those olden days, not a town, not 
a city, not excepting the metropolis itself, but bocisted of its 
Maypole. In London these Maypoles abounded, and the last 
of them, which stood in the Strand, near Somerset House, 
was not removed until 17 17. The early part of May-day was 
spent in decorating these poles with garlanded hoops, with 
ribbons, and with the flowers that had been gathered in the 
early morn. When all was ready and a grassy mound erected, 
some fair maiden was elected Queen of the May, was crowned 
with flowers, and, with many other ceremonies equally pleasant 
and innocent, was inducted into transient village royalty. 

The following lines, entitled " The Village Queen," refer to 
this pretty pastoral custom, now unfortunately almost obsolete, 
except in very secluded districts : 

"Begun to fall had hawthorn's snow 

In scented showers upon the ground. 
And almond blossoms now did strow 

Their pinky petals all around ; 
Her wavy hair the birch did fling 

Out to the May- wind's warm caress ; 
From ev'ry bough the birds did sing 

Of Spring-tide in her vernal dress. 

" So, tempted by the cloudless sky, 

I through the village took a stroll, 
To where I saw hoisted on high, 

With garlands deck'd, a gay Maypole. 
Upon the grass a merry group 

Of boys and girls were dancing seen ; 
And as before the pole they 'd troop, 

They bow'd to one they called the Queen. 

"Of gauzy white her simple dress, 

Which they with garlands had enwound, 
And on her youthful brow did press 

The wrealii with which they her had crown 'd, 
I gazed upon the fragile child 

Who sat enthroned upon the green, 
And watched her whilst she sweetly smU'd 

On those who claimed her for their Queen. 

"The roses in her cheeks were few; 
Her little arms were wan and thin. 
And violet veins did much peer thro' 

The lily whiteness of her skin. 
This little lass I knew full well 
As only daughter of our Deanj 

The Hawthorn. 55 

As tender as the cowslip's bell — 
Most worthy she to be their Queen. 

" There was a little lad I spied. 

Whose cheeks were red with ruddy health ; 
He stood sedately by her side, 

But every now and then, by stealth 
Would whisper something in her ear, 

To flush her face, so else serene, 
And then draw back with bashful fear 

That he 'd annoy'd tire Village Queen. 

" It was a happy sight to see — 

Each brow as sunny as the sky. 
Till eve I joined their jubilee. 

And then I left them with a sigh ; 
Then homeward. When they all were gone. 

One youthful pair I walked between ; 
We parted on the emerald lawn 

Before the house of our good Dean. 

* * • * » 

' ' The Autumn woods were burning brown. 

The Autumn leaves were growing sere, 
The beechen nuts were falling down 

Upon the roadsides, dank and drear ; 
The maple boughs were baring fast ; 

No corn was in the fields to glean ; 
I strode along — ^young Henry past, 

And I asked of the Village Queen. 

" No word he spoke, but took my hand, 
And drew me on in silent gloom, 
Until together we did stand 

In the churchyard before a tomb ; 
Upon the stone I sadly read 

These simple words, ' Our Adeline ' ; 
With choking voice then Henry said, 

' There sleeps our darling Village Queen.' " 

John Ingram. 

Rare, indeed, are now these pleasant welcomings — these 
pretty rustic customs, though yet the May-bough is hung ovei 
some houses in Hertfordshire, and the Maypole lingers still 
on the village greens of Wales. The remains of the old prac- 
tices are, however, in most places confined to the small chap- 
let of cowslips and bluebells which are borne by little timid 
country girls or rosy urchins, whose young voices salute one 
with " Please remember the May." 

In a few rural spots of our country a May-day Queen is 

56 The Hawthorn. 

chosen and crowned with flowers, and the day kept as a holi- 
day ; but this is only in remote villages, which old customs 
still haunt. In some parts of Cornwall, May-day sports are 
continued in almost their primitive fashion : the day is de- 
voted to out-of-doors enjoyment ; and at Helston the youths 
and maidens cover themselves with the snowy wreaths of spring, 
and, preceded by the Queen of the May, dance merrily through 
the houses, scattering flowers about them. 

Tennyson, in his " May Queen " — that beautiful poem which 
is said to have gained him the Laureateship — has immor- 
talized the memory of this fastly-fading custom. A favourite 
native singer, whose immense popularity might justly entitle 
her to claim the appellation of " The Peoples' Laureate," has 
given her country these melodious, stirring lines on the " Raising 
of the Maypole " : 

' ' My own land ! my own land ! where freedom finds her throne-land ; 
Fair thou art, and rare thou art, to every true-bom son. 
Though no gold ore veins thee, though no grape-juice stains thee. 
We 've harvest fields, and quartered shields, well kept and nobly won. 
And we have pleasant tales to tell. 
And spot in many a native dell, 
Which we may prize and love as well 

As Troubadour his story. 
The lilting troll and roundelay 
Will never, never pass away. 
That welcomed in the herald day 

Of Summer's rosy glory. 
And goodly sight of mirth and might, 
In blood that gained us Cressy's fight, 
Was hearts and eyes, all warm and bright 
About the high and gay pole ; 
When flower bedight, 'mid leaves and light, 
Shouts echoed — as it reared upright — 

Of ' Hurrah for merry England, and the raising of the Maypole t 
When the good old times had carol rhymes, 
With morris games and village chimes ; 
When clovni and priest shared cup and feast, 
And the greatest jostled with the least, 
At the ' raising of the Maypole ! ' 

•' My brave land ! my brave land ! oh ! may'st thou be my grave-land ; 
For firm and fond will be the bond that ties my heart to thee. 
Wlien Summer's beams are glowing, when Autumn's gusts are blovring. 
When Winter's clouds are snowing, thou art still right dear to me. 
But yet, methinks, I love thee best 
When bees are nurst on whitethorn breast. 
When Spring-tide pours in, sweet and blest, 
And joy and hope come dancing ! 

The Hawthorn. 57 

When music from the feathered throng 

Breaks forth in merry marriage song, 

And mountain streamlets dash along, 
Like molten diamonds glancing ! 

Oh ! pleasant 't is to scan the page, 

Rich with the theme of bygone age. 

When motley fool and learned sage 
Brought garlands for the gay pole ; 
When laugh and shout came ringing out 
From courtly knight and peasant lout, 

In ' Hurrah for merry England, and the raising of the Maypoie ! ' 
When the good old times had carol rhymes. 
With morris games and village chimes ; 
When clown and priest shared cujd and feast, 
And the greatest jostled with the least, 

At the ' raising of the Maypole !' " Eliza Cook. 

This fragrant favourite of English poets is well worthy of its 
reputation : its beauty and perfume are alike unsurpassed by 
any of earth's "gemmy flowers," as Poe calls her floral' decora- 
tions ; and truly we may style it the loveliest flower of the 
loveliest month — it is, indeed, the scented diadem of the year. 
Well may Shakspeare make Henry VI. ask : 

" Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade 
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep, 
' Than doth a rich embroidered canopy 
To kings?" 

Milton has also remarked the adaptability of this bush tor 
sheltering shepherds : 

" And every shepherd tells his tale 
Under the hawthorn in the dale." 

And then comes Goldsmith to speak of other tales told 
beneath its shade ; for, whereas the author of " L' Allegro " 
only intends to represent his shepherd as counting his sheep, 
the author of the " Deserted Village " talks of fonder themes : 

"The hawthorn-bush, with seats beneath the shade. 
For talking age and whispering lovers made ! 
How often have I blessed the coming day, 
When toil remitting lent its turn to play, 
And all the village train, from labour free. 
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree. 
While many a pastime circled in the shade, 
The young contending, as the old surveyed." 

How longingly we await the unfolding of the May-blossoin 

58 7 HE Hawthorn. 

— summer's scented harbinger! how tenderly both young and 
old watch its growth, from when, in the beginning of April, 

"Fringing the forest's devious edge, 
Half-robed, appears the hawthorn hedge ; 
Or to the distant eye displays 
Weakly green its budding sprays ; 

next, with what delight do all observe that 

"The hawthorn every day 
Spreads some little show of May ; " 

and then what a warmth of summer happiness seems to flood 
all hearts ! when, no longer doubtingly, we dare exclaim with 
Warton : 

" 'T is May, the Grace — confess'd she stands. 
With branch of hawthorn in her hands ; 
Lo ! near her trip the lightsome dews. 
Their wings all ting'd in Iris' hues ; 
With whom the powers of Flora play. 
And paint with pansies all the way." 

How exquisitely, and with what an under-current of pathos, 
has MacCarthy portrayed these summer longings ! how much 
is suggested that words have left unsaid ! List how one of the 
sweetest melodies of the century begins : 

"Ah I my heart is weary, waiting — 

Waiting for the May : 
Waiting for the pleasant rambles 
Where the fragrant hawthorn br:imbles. 
With the woodbine alternating, 

Scent the dewy way. 
Ah ! my heart is weary, waiting — 

Waiting for the May 1 " 

The common colour of these delicate blossoms is white, 
frequently blushed with pink ; but there is a garden variety 
with double flowers of a deep red. Poets constantly allude to 
the petals of the bloom as summer snow, or as scented snow, 
because of the manner in which the wind often scatters com- 
plete clouds of them over the pathways and about the road- 
sides, and also because of their fleecy, snow-like look amid 
surrounding green hedges. 

" Between the leaves, the silver whitethorn shows 
Its dewy blossoms, pure as mountain snows. " 

The Hawthorn. jg 

Long after its ?it^cy flowers have faded, the hawthorn remains 
one of our most ornamental shrubs, for its glossy green leaves 
and bright scarlet berries form a very pretty picture, besides 
providing shelter for some of our most melodious songsters : 
these little warblers find an abundant supply of food in the 
haws, as the berries are called. Lord Bacon, in his " Essays," 
observes that " a store of haws portend cold winters," and the 
allegation is believed to be correct. The yellow-berried haw- 
thorn is familiarly called the golden thorn, because its fruit is 
golden-hued, and its young buds are of a bright yellow. The 
Mexican thorn is said to have large yellow fruit, which might 
rival the golden apples of the Hesperides in appearance. To 
the wintry adornments of this bush Phillips prettily alludes : 

"Long pearls and rubies rich the hawthorns show, 
While through the ice the crimson berries glow. " 

The whitethorn has been revered as a sacred tree from the 
earliest ages. Mr. Charles Hardwick, in a very interesting 
paper on the "Customs of Christmas and Yule-tide," alludes at 
some length to the presumed sanctity of this tree, and quotes 
these remarks of a writer in the "Quarterly Review," on 
" Sacred Trees and Flowers." " The whitethorn," he says, " is 
one of the trees most in favour with the fairies ; and, both in 
Brittany and in some parts of Ireland, it is held unsafe to 
gather even a leaf from certain old and solitary thorns which 
grow in sheltered hollows of the moorland, and are the fairies' 
trysting-places. But no evil ghost dares to approach the white- 
thorn." This same writer presumes that the legendary sanctity 
of this tree arose from the belief that the crown of thorn wili 
which Christ was crowned was made from its branches ; but 
Mr. Hardwick gives ample proof of its having been held in re- 
ligious esteem long prior to the existence of Christianity. Sir 
John Maundeville, the brave old English traveller, thus gives 
the tradition referred to : " Then was our Lord led into a 
garden .... and the Jews scorned Him, and made Him a 
crown of the branches of the Aub4pine, that is, whitethorn, which 
grew in the same garden, and set it on His head. . And there- 
fore hath the whitethorn many virtues. For he that beareth 
a branch on him thereof, no thunder, or manner of tempest, 
may hurt him ; and in the house that it is in may no evil 
ghost enter." 

Co T^E Hawthorn. 

In fables, too ancient to fix their origin, this tree is said to 
have sprung from the lightning. The celebrated " Glastonbury 
Thorn," which was a variety of the common hawthorn, instead 
of blooming in May, blossomed in winter, and was firmly 
believed to blow regularly on Christmas-day. The original 
bush was said to have been the staff of St. Joseph of Arimathea 
— popularly supposed to have been the founder of the first 
Christian church in England. On his arrival at Glastonbury 
with a few companions (so runs the old legend), he determined 
to settle there, and, as a proof of the divinity of his mission, 
he struck his dry hawthorn staff into the ground, and imme- 
diately it put forth branches and blossomed. This happened 
on Christmas-day ; and ever aftenvards, on the anniversary of 
the miracle, the tree, despite the coldness of the season, put 
forth flowers, until the Puritans cut it down. This did not, 
however, eradicate the superstition ; for a stock derived, or said 
to be derived, from the original, was planted in the neighbour- 
hood, and by many country folks is still steadfastly asserted 
to bloom on Twelfth-day — the old-style Christmas-day — as a 
protest against the alteration of the calendar. 

The flowers of this wonderful thorn were formerly exported 
as valuable relics ; and in Collinson's " History of Somerset- 
shire " it is stated that this tree was much sought after by the 
credulous ; and, though a common thorn, Queen Anne, King 
James, and many of the nobility of the realm — even when the 
times of monkish superstition had ceased — gave large sums of 
money for small cuttings from the original. 

The progeny of this supernatural plant are said to retain the 
miraculous propensity ; and Mr. Wilkinson, of Burnley, speak- 
ing of some of the wonderful trees still existing in Lancashire, 
says that in his vicinity many persons will yet travel a con- 
siderable distance in order to witness the periodic blossoming. 

Miss Pratt tells of a hawthorn in the Arboretum of Kew 
Gardens which " is often covered with its white clusters while 
the snow surrounds it." 

Credulous as old Culpepper was, he refused to believe in so 
Papistical a legend, "since," he remarks, "the like may be found 
in divers other places of this land." He did not hesitate, 
however, to assign many marvellous powers to the hawthorn, 
gravely asserting that, " if cloths and sponges be wet in the dis- 

The Hawthorn. iji 

tilled water of the flower, and applied to any place wherein 
thorns and splinters, or the like, do abide in the flesh, it will 
notably draw them forth. And thus, you see, the thorn gives 
a medicine for its own pricking, and so doth almost everything 

Probatiwi est, worthy old professor of physic and astrology. 



THE Myrtle, like the rose, is generally considered symbolic 
of love, and by the Greeks and Romans was consecrated 
to Venus, around whose temples they planted groves of it ; 
and, when the votaries of this goddess sacrificed to her, they, 
like her attendant Graces, wore myrtle chaplets. M)^hologists 
assert that she, the Goddess of Beauty, was crowned by the 
Hours with a wreath of this plant when she sprang from the 
foam of the sea, and also that her head was decked with it 
when Paris awarded her the golden apple, the prize for supre- 
macy of beauty. Once, when surprised by a troop of satyrs 
as she emerged from her bath, she found shelter behind the 
foliage of a myrtle ; and it was with bunches of the same plant 
that she caused the unfortunate Psyche to be chastised, for 
having been so audacious as to compare her earthly charms 
with the celestial beauty of her mother-in-law. It was under 
the name of Myrtilla that Venus was worshipped in Greece. 

This shrub is supposed to have derived its name from Myr- 
sine, an Athenian maiden, and favourite of Minerva, said to 
have been metamorphosed into the myrtle; at any rate, it 
owes its origin to a Greek word signifying perfume. Why this 
plant was dedicated to Venus remains an unsolved query : 
some fancy because it often grows near that goddess's natal 
element, the sea, and others because the fragrant and. perma- 
nent nature of its foliage might seem to render it a suitable 
tribute to the Goddess of Beauty. 

" Sacred to Venus is the myrtle shade," 

says the poet, and, as such, it obtained great repute with the 
ancient Greeks and Romans, 

The Myrtle. 63 

Not only was this plant environed with the sanctity of love, 
but its beauty and fragrance likewise rendered it a favourite 
with several nations of antiquity, who gave particular attention 
to odorous shrubs. With the Jews the myrtle is a symbol of 
peace, and, with that signification attached to it, many allusions 
are to be found in the Old Testament. The common myrtle, 
which grows plentifully in Judea, is the plant referred to in the 
Scriptures, but there are many varieties of it. One variety, 
frequently called the Broad-leaved Jews' Myrtle, is in much 
regard amongst this people, and is ofttimes used in those re- 
ligious ceremonies which, through weal or woe, they have so 
tenaciously kept up. This broad-leaved variety, to which some 
especial veneration appears attached, is cultivated by nursery- 
men, who supply it exclusively to their Hebrew customers, so 
that, in this country at least, it can only be procured at con- 
siderable trouble and expense. 

Emblematic of its pacific meaning is that vision of Ze- 
chariah's, wherein that prophet beheld the angel who foretold 
the restoration of Israel standing in the midst of myrtles. 
Nehemiah, when exhorting the people to go forth and gather 
" the boughs of goodly trees " for use at their annual Feast of 
the Tabernacles, includes myrtle-branches ; and Isaiah, when 
desirous of representing the blessings that would accrue to the 
world under the peaceful reign of Christ, pictures that "Instead 
of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the briar 
shall come up the myrtle." 

All Oriental nations have a passionate fondness for this 
flowering shrub ; and Mr. Lane remarks that it rivals the 
violet in the esteem of the Arabs, who have a tradition that 
Adam, when expelled from Paradise, brought the myrtle— the 
chief of sweet-scented flowers — into the world with him. With 
the Greeks, this flower was much admired : their groves, so 
renowned in song, were fragrant with its perfume, which the 
richness of the climate rendered far stronger than in ours. 
The Athenian magistrates wore chaplets of myrtle, as symbols 
of their authority ; and conquerors, who during their triumphs 
had obtained a bloodless victory, were allowed to entwine 
their laurel wreaths with sprigs of myrtle. _^ 

Miss Pratt, in her work on " Flowers and their Associations, 
thus speaks of the prevalent use of the myrtle for typical 

64 The Myrtle. 

purposes : " The magisterial wreaths were composed by some 
of those artists whose profession it was to form garlands and 
to construct letters, the flowers of which should be symbolical 
of different ideas. The meaning of these wreaths, or epistles, 
was as fully understood by the great body of the people as 
the language of flowers is recognized in the Eastern harem. 
The wild olive, or wreath of laurel or parsley, which crowned 
the brow of the successful combatant, appealed to the imagi- 
nation of his countrymen, and was deemed by the Grecian 
hero as a well-understood token of applause. It was with the 
desire of giving to the dead that which they had loved in 
life, that the ancients crowned the corpse with myrtle. The 
practice was long continued, till the Fathers of the Church 
at length forbade it, because it was taken from the heathen 
people ; but so old and pleasing a custom — one which ex- 
pressed so well the feelings of the mourner — was not easily 
done away with, and the remains of it reached, in our own 
land, even down to the present century, when the dead were 
enwreathed with flowers, or a chaplet hung up in the church 
or laid upon the tomb." 

The Romans, with whom, indeed, floral ceremonies did not 
always exhibit the same purity and delicacy that they did with 
their predecessors, seem to have had as great a fondness for 
the myrtle as had the Hellenes. " The myrtle blooming on the 
sea-beat shore" was deemed by them emblematical oi festivity, 
because, it is supposed, they steeped it in their wine, in the 
belief that it improved its flavour and added to its invigorat- 
ing properties. The invalid, too, hoped for restoration to health 
by using its berries medicinally. Sometimes, at Rome, the 
myrtle garland was woven with the laurel on the conqueror's 
triumphant brow, in honour of Venus and Mars ; and on the 
1st of April the Roman ladies were accustomed to bathe beneath 
the myrtle-trees, and, crowned with their leaves, proceed thence 
to the shrine of Venus, and offer sacrifice. 

As a rule, Italians appear suspicious of perfumes ; but it is 
stated that the Roman ladies still retain a strong predilection 
for the scent of this flower, and are said to prefer its odour to 
that of the most fragrant essences ; impregnating their baths 
with a water distilled from its leaves, persuaded that the plant 
of Venus must be favourable to beauty. 

The Myrtle. 65 

Virgil, in his "Pastorals," alludes to the fragrance of the 
myrtle-blossom in these terms : 

"Thee, O myrtle, I will pluck, and next the laurel place, 
For, thus arranged, thou 'It mingle sweet perfumes I " 

The same author, in his " Georgics," notices this flower's fond- 
ness for the sea-shore — a fondness that has supplied the poets 
with many a simile. Amongst other properties that Virgil 
also assigns to this plant is its adaptibility for the manufacture 
of weapons, as 

" The war from stubborn myrtle shafts receives.'' 

It was formerly much valued for this purpose, for its dura- 
bility, and, even now, the Portuguese consider its wood the 
hardest which grows. 

Amongst the ancient writers who speak of its symbolism is 
Pliny : he records that the Romans and Sabines, when they 
were reconciled, laid down their weapons under a myrtle-tree, 
and purified themselves with its boughs. When Harmodius 
and Aristogiton set forth to free their country from hereditary 
monarchy, their swords were wreathed with myrtle. 

Thus hymns Moore, in a higher flight than is usual with him, 
when his young hero is contemning the indolent and effemi- 
nate luxury around him : 

" It was not so, land of the generous thought. 
And daring deeds thy god-like sages taught ; 
It was not thus, in bowers of wanton ease. 
Thy freedom nursed her sacred energies ; 
Oh ! not beneath the enfeebling, withering glow 
Of such dull luxury did those myrtles grow. 
With which she wreathed her sword when she would dare 
Immortal deeds ; but in the bracing air 
Of toil, of temperance, and of that high, rare. 
Ethereal virtue, which alone can breathe 
Life, health, and lustre into freedom's wreath. '' 

Herrick, who was as apt as Milton himself at a classic allusion, 
thus off"ers to propitiate Venus : 

"Goddess, I do love a girl, 
Ruby lipp'd and tooth'd with pearl; 
If so be I may but prove 
Lucky in this maid I love, 
I will promise there shall be 
Myrtles offered up to thee. " 

66 The Myrtle. 

As the lily is coupled with the rose, so is the myrtle with 

the bay ; but, here the former of the twain appears to be 

the poet's favourite. Drayton, in his " Muses' Elysium," has 

gathered a number of emblematical garlands, and appropriately 

enough makes 

"The lover with the myrtle sprays 
Adorn his crisped tresses." 

In an exquisite passage in Keats' " Sleep and Poetry,'' that 
poet tells of 

" A myrtle, fairer than 
E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds 
Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds 
A silent space with ever-sprouting green. 
All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen. 
Creep through the shade vrith noisy fluttering, 
Nibble the little cupped flowers, and sing. " 

Leigh Hunt, translating from Catullus, speaks of 

" A myrtle-tree in flower, 
Taken from an Asian bower. 
Where, with many a dewy cup, 
Nymphs in play had nursed it up." 

Poetic allusions to this favourite flower — this emblem of 
" Love, the lord of all " — might be multiplied to infinity ; for 
who is there that loves it not that knows it, and, knowing it, 
does not praise its loveliness .-' Not only are its blossoms so 
beautiful, but, even when flowerless, the deep, lustrous green 
of its foliage gains the admiration of all beholders, and reminds 
one of what Professor Wilson (of " Noctes Ambrosianse " fame) 
remarked : " They are shrubs, whose leaves of light have no 
need of flowers." 

Evelyn informs us that myrtles were introduced into England 
long before the invention of greenhouses ; but in that case, our 
forefathers must have had some method of sheltering them 
from the cold, which was apparently more severe in former 
times than at present ; and yet, now-a-days, it is only in the 
warmer counties, such as Cornwall and Devonshire, of our 
uncongenial and ever varying clime, that it can stand un- 
defended the test of winter. Those beautiful and fragrant 
myrtle hedges which ancient and modern authors have so 
frequently dilated upon, are only to be found beneath the ever 
blue and cloudless skies of sunnier climes than ours. It is in 

The Myrtle. 67 

Africa, in Oriental lands, or in Southern Europe, that we must 
seek those shining myrtle groves of which the poets sing. 
"The shrub consecrated to love," says a French traveller, 
" forms, in Candia, hedges and thickets, and is so common 
that it might almost be considered as the bramble of the 
country." The beautiful enclosed gardens of the Cape of Good 
Hope are adorned with hedges of myrtle : their blooming 
beauties waving over the head of the passenger, they unite 
their fragrance with the odoriferous exhalations from the 
orange and lemon-trees, so abundant in that clime. 

In the Canary Isles the myrtle flourishes in profusion, grow- 
ing to a considerable height, and is found, it is stated, at an 
elevation of 3,000 feet above the level of the sea. It is not so 
abundant as formei'ly, however, the Portuguese having cut down 
such enormous quantities for use on saints' festivals, and other 
religious or public ceremonies. The myrtle hedges in Italy 
are described as surpassingly fragrant, whilst in Switzerland 
the uses to which this plant is put are numberless. The vola- 
tile oil extracted from the leaves of the myrtle is extremely 
astringent, and, being thought to have considerable effect in 
improving the hair, is a frequent ingredient in a pomade em- 
ployed for that purpose. A diverting story illustrative of this 
plant's astringent nature is related in the " Dictionnaire Portatif 
d'Histoire Naturelle." By chance, a gentleman was left a few 
minutes in a lady's boudoir, and, to occupy his spare time, 
began investigating the vases that were placed about the 
apartment : he discovered in one some myrtle pomade, and 
with a curiosity worthy of a son of Eve, put some of it upon 
his lips, placing himself meanwhile before a mirror, in order 
to see the effects of the presumed beautifier. The lady en- 
tering suddenly, disturbed his proceedings, and when he 
attempted to hide his confusion by addressing her, to his 
dismay he found his mouth tightly closed by the pomade's 
adhesive property. A sudden glance at the vase revealed to 
the lady the cause of his embarrassment, and produced an 
uncontrollable burst of laughter at the indiscreet youth's 
expense. Such ludicrous anecdotes of the self-styled "lords 
of creation " serve well " to point a moral or adorn a tale." 

5 — 2 



MANY florigraphical significations are attached to this 
exquisitely scented flower, but the most reliable works 
adopt it as the representative of amiability. 

The favourite kind is the Spanish jasmine, so called because 
it is believed to have been first introduced into Europe, in 1560, 
by some Spaniards, who brought it from the East Indies. The 
flowers are of a blush-red outside and blush within ; they bloom 
at the same time as the Indian, the blossoms of which are of 
a bright yellow, and are very fragrant. The common white 
jasmine is an exceedingly elegant plant, and is not surpassed 
in fragrance or beauty by any of the species. It is this flower 
which Cowper delineates as 

" The jasmine throwing wide her elegant sweets, 
The deep dark green of whose unvarnished leaf 
Makes more conspicuous and illumines more 
The bright profusion of her scattered stars " 

The delicate beauty and delicious scent of this flower ren- 
dered it a valuable acquisition to the European Flora, and for 
some time it was only possessed by the high and mighty. The 
following romantic story of its becoming more generally known 
is related by Loudon: 

In 1699, the Grand Duke of Tuscany obtained a specimen 
of jasmine of Goa, with large double blossoms and of exquisite 
scent. Greedy of its beauties, he would not allow it to be pro- 
pagated ; but his gardener contrived to carry a sprig of it to 
his betrothed on her birthday, and fully explained to her how 
to cultivate it. It grew rapidly, and being much admired, the 
girl was able to sell cuttings of it at a high price. By these 
means she soon amassed enough money to enable her to wed 

/asmine. 69 

her lover, who had hitherto been compelled to remain in a state 
of single wretchedness, for want of means to alter his condi- 
tion. In memory of this love-legend, Tuscan girls wear a 
nosegay of jasmine on their wedding-day; and, says the pro- 
verb, " she who is worthy to wear a nosegay of jasmine is as 
good as a fortune to her husband." 

The Hindoos, who use odoriferous flowers in their sacrifices, 
particularly value the jasmine for this purpose, and mostly 
combine it with the flower which they call zambuk. 

Jasmine is most profusely cultivated in Italian gardens. In 
the East it is carefully tended for the sake of its stem, out of 
which the luxurious Orientals manufacture their pipes. In 
Arabia Felix the women strip the blossoms of this plant from 
their stalks, and wear them in their hair for ornaments. 

One of the shrubs of which Milton formed the bower of 
Adam and Eve in Paradise was jasmine ; and Moore, in an 
allusion to night-blooming flowers, thus sweetly introduces this 
favourite blossom: 

"Many a perfume breathed 
From plants that wake when others sleep ; 
From timid ja.smine-buds that keep 
Their odour to themselves all day, 
But when the sunlight dies away 
Let the delicious secret out 
To every breeze that roams about." 

Churchill states that it is 

" The jasmine, with which the queen of flowers, 
To charm her god, adorns his favourite bowers ; 
Which brides, by the plain hand of neatness drest, — 
Unenvied rival ! — ^wear upon the breast ; 
Sweet as the incense of the mom, and chaste 
As the pure zone which circles Dian's waist." 

St. Pierre, in his " Studies of Nature," speaking of the Caro- 
lina jasmine — the token of separation, — says that that tiny 
feathered fairy, the humming-bird, builds his nest in one of 
the leaves of this plant, which he rolls up into the form of a 
cone : he finds his subsistence in its red flowers, resembling 
those of the foxglove, the nectareous glands of which he licks 
with his tongue ; he squeezes into them his little body, which 
looks in these flowers like an emerald set in coral, and some- 
times gets so far that he may be caught in this situation. 

70 Jasmine. 

The perfumes emitted by plants are so much stronger in 
tropical climes than in our own land, that when Europeans 
first visit India they are quite overpowered by the influence of 
many of them, especially of the large jasmine. The early 
fragrance of these flowers is described as delicious, one au- 
thority stating that even the dews are impregnated with their 
odour, rendering a morning walk delightful. In the Orient, 
jasmine is deemed emblematic of the sweets of friendship. It 
is a very favourite flower with the Hindoo ladies, who perfume 
their apartments and their hair with the blossoms of the large 
flowering kind, known as the champdca. Sir William Jones 
says the Brahmins of this province insist that the blue campac 
flowers only in Paradise ; and in Marsden's " Sumatra " we 
read that the Sultan of Menangcabow keeps the flower cham- 
pdca that is blue and to be found in no other country but his, 
being yellow elsewhere ; and in allusion to this flower Moore 

"A tear-drop glistened 

Within his eyelids, like the spray 

From Eden's fountain, when it lies 
On the blue flower which, Brahmins say. 

Blooms nowhere but in Paradise. " 

The golden-coloured champac, of which Niebuhr speaks, 
Moore, in his " Lalla Rookh," thus sweetly introduces : 

"The maid of India, blest again to hold 
In her full lap the champack's leaves of gold, 
Thinks of the time when, by the Ganges' flood. 
Her little playmates scattered many a bud 
Upon her long black hair, with glassy gleam 
Just dripping from the consecrated stream." 

In his notes to the above poem, Moore remarks that the 
appearance of the blossom of the gold-coloured campac, or 
jasmine, on the black hair of the Hindoo women, has supplied 
the Sanscrit poets with many elegant allusions. It cannot be 
denied that this exquisitely scented flower supplied the Irish 
Anacreon himself with many beautiful comparisons ; what 
sweeter could he say of Arabian brides than that they are 

"As delicate and fair 
As the white jasmine flowers they wear " ? 

Of this last-named plant Sir J. E. Smith relates the follow- 
ing anecdote: A Pope having dreamed that a great quantity 

Jasmine- 7 1 

of snow had fallen on a particular spot during the month of 
August, upon discovering that his dream had actually been 
realized, built in commemoration the Borghese Chapel at 
Rome, and directed that on the anniversary of the day a repre- 
sentation of a snow-shower should be given to the congrega- 
tion throughout the service. The mimic snow was made of 
the lovely and fragrant flowers of the white jasmine ; but, it 
is said, the anticipation of the effect of their powerful odour 
deterred the ladies of Rome from honouring the ceremony 
with their attendance. 



VERVAIN, or wild verbena, has been the floral symbol of 
enchantment from time immemorial. It was styled 
" sacred herb " by the Greeks, who ascribed a thousand mar- 
vellous properties to it, not the least of which was its power 
of reconciling enemies. Under the influence of this belief, 
they, as did also the Romans, sent it by their ambassadors on 
treaties of peace ; and, whenever they dispatched their heralds 
to offer terms of reconciliation, renewal or suspension of hos- 
tilities, one of them invariably bore a sprig of vervain. In 
his " Muses' Elysium," Drayton calls it " holy vervain," and 
thus speaks of it: 

" A wreath of vervain heralds wear 
Amongst our garlands named. 
Being sent that weighty news to bear 
Of peace or war proclaimed. " 

Peoples of antiquity also frequently used this plant in various 
kinds of divinations, sacrifices, and incantations; and its spe- 
cific name of verbena originally signified a herb used to deco- 
rate altars. Ben Jonson, who was never happier than in a 
classic allusion, says, 

"Bring your garlands, and with reverence place 
The vervian on the altar." 

It was much valued by the Druids, being regarded by them 
as only second to the mistletoe : they used it largely in their 
divinations and casting of lots. Many impressive ceremonies 
were practised, and sacrifices offered to the Earth, before they 
cut this sacred plant. This was in the spring, and according 
to priestly orders, vervain was to be gathered about the rising 
of the Great Dog Star, but so as neither sun nor moon be at 

Vervain. 73 

that time above the earth to see it. It was likewise ordained 
for those who collected it, " that before they take up the herb, 
they bestow upon the ground where it groweth, honey with 
the combs, in token of satisfaction and amends for the wrong 
and violence done in depriving her of so holy a herb." 

The sacred character of this herb still reigned paramount 
during the middle ages. In those gay days when fairy folk 
were accustomed 

"To dance their ringlets to the whistling wind," 

and hold " their revels all the luscious night," the vervain was 
greatly prized, and used in the composition of manifold charms 
and love-philtres. It was also deemed of exceeding value 
for medicinal purposes, and Culpepper assigns more curative 
virtues to it than a whole pharmacopoeia of these degenerate 
days affords. It was suspended round the neck as an amulet, 
and was deemed a sovereign remedy for venomous bites and 
all kinds of wounds. Sir William Davenant, in his poem of 
" Gondibert," alludes to its curative powers : 

"Black melancholy rusts, that fed despair 

Through wounds' long rage, with sprinkled vervain cleared ; 
Strewed leaves of willow to refresh the air, 

And with rich fumes his sullen senses cheered. " 

Although in these stern matter-of-fact times we have lost 

"The enchantments, the delights, the visions all, 
The elfin visions that so blessed the sight 
In the old days romantic, " 

yet are still preserved many of the 

" Beautiful fictions of our fathers, wove 
In superstition's web when Time was young, 
And fondly loved and cherished;" 

and amongst the few of these fond fancies not yet obliterated 
from the busy brains of men, are some of those connected 
with this emblem of enchantment. In some country districts 
this small insignificant flower still retains a portion of its old 
renown, and old folks tie it round the neck to charm away the 
ague : with many it still has the reputation of securing affec- 
tion from those who take it to those who administer it ; and 
still in some parts of France do the peasantry continue to 



gather the vervain, with ceremonies and words known only to 
themselves, and to express its juices under certain phases of 
the moon. At once the doctors and conjurors of their village, 
they alternately cure the complaints of their masters or fill 
them with dread ; for the same means which relieve their ail- 
ments enable them to cast a spell on their cattle and on the 
hearts of their daughters. They insist that this power is given 
to them by vervain, especially when the damsels are young 
and handsome. Thus vervain is still the plant of spells and 
enchantments, as it was amongst the ancients. 

This little lilac roadside flower, although it is very common, 
is said to never be found at a greater distance than half a mile 
from the habitations of man. Dr. Withering has dispelled this 
pleasant fiction, and states that he found it in plenty at the 
foot of St. Vincent's rocks. 



ORANGE-BLOSSOM is generally deemed typical of chas- 
tity, because of it being custonaary for brides to wear 
a wreath of it on their wedding-day. The practice, though 
still retained in some countries, is not so fashionable here as 
formerly ; nevertheless, bridal bonnets frequently display an 
artificial spray of these flowers. In his "Ode to Memory," 
Tennyson alludes to the custom of using these blossoms at 
nuptials thus : 

" Like a bride of old. 

In triumph led, 

With music and sweet showers 

Of festal flowers. 
Unto the dwelling she must sway." 

The wax-hued blossoms of the syringa are often mistaken 
and used in this country for those of " the starry orange-tree " 
— a tree which, from the fact of its being one of those rare 
productions of nature, bearing at the same time foliage, flowers, 
and fruit, has been made the emblem oi generosity. Mason's 
poem of the " English Garden " introduces the favourite thus 
prodigally adorned : 

"Where the citron sweet 
And fragrant orange, rich in fruit and flowers, 
Might hang their silver stars, their golden globes. 
On the same odorous stem. " 

Moore, in his sweet story of " Paradise and the Peri," makes 
a somewhat similar allusion, but draws a vciy different moral 
from the combination : 

"Just then, beneath some orange-trees, 
Whose fruit and blossoms in the breeze 
Were wantoning together, free. 
Like age at play with infancy." 

76 Orange-blossoms. 

These lovely, sweet-scented flowers, which have so much to 
do with blushing brides and bridal ceremonies, would certainly 
hold a foremost place in those fresh flowers which Mrs. Hemans 
bids us bring with which to crown the maid : 

' ' Bring flowers, fresh flowers, for the bride to wear ! 
They were bom to blush in her shining hair. 
She is leaving the home of her childhood's mirth, 
She hath bid farewell to her father's hearth; 
Her place is now by another's side — 
Bring flowers for the locks of the fair young bride." 

And then, the espousals being over, and the rare and radiant 
maiden able to say, 

" The ring is on my finger, 

And the wreath is on my brow, " 

how appropriate will this sweet little song by the late Ella 
Ingram seem : 

" My little bird, my pretty bird. Within that bright and glowing isle, 

Thou once wast wild and free, 'Mid flowers thou 'It live no more — ■ 

And gaily then thy voice was heard And yet my bird, beneath my smile, 

In the starry orange-tree. Sings sweeter than before. 
Beneath deep skies of glowing blue 

Thy golden plumes would float, " My pretty bird, my golden bird, 

And fragrant flowers of pearly hue I once was wild and free : 

Contrasted with thy coat. 1° song my voice was often heard. 

And sunshine dwelt with me. 

" Alas ! my bird, in sunshine drest, But now I 'm caged, my pretty bird. 

No more thou art wild and free ; And now must rove no more, 

No more thou 'It find thy little nest And yet my heart, my golden bird. 

In the dark green orange-tree. Beats happier than before. " 

The fruit of the orange-tree is deemed typical of abundance, 
and is supposed to be the golden apple of the mythologists. 
Spenser and Milton both assume it to be the veritable article 
in question, and in these stanzas of the " Faerie Queene," the 
poet evidently speaks of the orange: 

"Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree, 

With branches broad dispread and body great, 
Clothdd with leaves, that none the wood might see, 
And laden all with fruit, as thick as thick might be. 

"The fruit were golden apples glistering bright. 
That goodly was their glory to Dehold ; 
On eartli no better grew, nor living wight 
E'er better saw, but they from hence * were sold. 

• The garden of Proserpina. 

Orange-blossoms. ii 

For those which Hercules, with conquest bold, 
Got from great Atlas' daughters, hence began, 

And planted there, did bring forth fruit of gold. 
And those with which th' Eubcean young man wan [won] 
Swift Atalanta, when, through craft, he her outran. 

" Here also sprang that goodly golden fruit 
With which Acontins got his lover true. 
Whom he had long time sought with fruitless suit ; 
Here eke that famous golden apple grew. 
The which among the gods false Ate threw. 
For which th' Idasan ladies disagreed, 

TUl partial Paris deem'd it Venus' due. 
And had [of her] fair Helen for his meed. 
That many noble Greeks and Trojans made to bleed." 

The latter epicist, in the fourth book of "Paradise Lost," 
introduces the orange-tree into his fabled groves as one 

" Whose fruit, burnished with golden lind, 
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true. 
If true, here only, and of delicious taste." 

Those who know not, and would know, all the various legends 
alluded to in these lines, should at once resort to the pages of 
their "Lempriere," or, if desirous of a fuller story, to the 
" Metamorphoses " of old Ovid. This fruit was doubtless the 
golden apple presented by Jove to Juno on the day of their 
nuptials, so ancient is its connection with bridal ceremonies. 

According to the poets and mythologists, these precious 
apples only grew in the gardens of the Hesperides, where they 
were preserved from all intruders by a guard of never-sleeping 
dragons. It was one of the twelve labours of Hercules to 
obtain some of them. These, again, were the golden apples 
given by Venus to the venturesome Hippomenes, by means of 
which he won Atalanta. Probably Spenser's opinion was just, 
and this was the fruit whose bestowal upon Venus gave origin 
to the Trojan war, as it was also the instrument by which the 
crafty Acontius obtained his spouse. What numberless legends, 
poems, and fables are indeed associated with its bright, auri- 
ferous hue, its glossy leaves, and its exquisitely perfumed 
flowers ! What dreams of future happiness, what memories of 
bygone bliss, are connected with its symbolic blossoms ! How 
gratefully should the man who first introduced the orange-tree 
into Europe be remembered, and what honours does his me- 
mory deserve! But, alas! what uncertainty obscures the never- 


ought-to-be-forgotten benefactor of his kind ! Mickle, in the 
prefatory matter to his translation of Camoens' " Luciad," re- 
marks that the famous John de Castro, the Portuguese con- 
queror in Asia, was said to have been the first who brought 
the orange-tree to Europe, and to have esteemed this gift to 
his country as the greatest of his actions. He adds that orange- 
trees are still preserved at Cintra as memorials of the place 
where he first planted that valuable fruitage. Evelyn's account 
of the introduction of the first China orange-tree which ap- 
peared in Europe is that it was sent as a present to the old 
Count Mellor, then Prime Minister to the King of Portugal. 

In her pretty address to the humming-bird, the feathered 
fairy of the New World, Charlotte Smith alludes to this bril- 
liant member of the floral court, thus : 

' ' There, lovely bee-bird ! may'st thou rove 
Through spicy vale and citron grove, 
And vfoo and win thy fluttering love 

With plume so bright ; 
There rapid fly, more heard than seen, 
'Mid orange-boughs of polished green. 
With glowing fruit, and flowers between 

Of purest white." 

C A M P H I R E. 


IF the West can now vaunt of the beauty and fragrance of 
its roses and carnations, the East alone can boast of the 
Camphire, which pleases alike by loveliness and odour. Its 
light green foliage, the pretty mixture of white and yellow in 
its clusters of blossoms, and the red hue of its little flower- 
stalks, render it as grateful to the eye as to the smell. It is 
the favourite flower of Egyptian ladies, who deck themselves 
with its blossoms, embellish their apartments with them, carry 
them to their bath, continually hold them in their hand ; in a 
word, perfume their persons with their delicious perfume, so 
that the Prophet's praise, " My beloved is unto me as a cluster 
of camphire," may be considered as rather more than a figura- 
tive expression. At Cairo, it is said, clusters of these flowers 
may be seen hanging to the ceilings of houses, where they not 
only please the eye, but purify the air. Egyptian women have 
such an intense love of camphire that they would willingly 
appropriate it exclusively to their own use, and are extremely 
jealous of Christian and Hebrew women partaking of it with 
them. From its leaves is produced the admired orange-coloured 
dye with which they stain certain parts of their hands and 
feet. This custom, however, is very prevalent, not only in 
Egypt, but in several other countries of the East, which are 
largely supplied with henna, as the Orientals call the camphire, 
from the Nile's fruitful banks. 

The practice of staining the nails with henna is alluded to 
in all works of Eastern travel, and it is from this habit that 
the plant is made the emblem of artifice. In the " Story of 
Prince Futtun in Bahardanush," it is said, "they tinged the 
ends of the fingers scarlet with henna, so that they resembled 
branches of coraL" And, in his poem of the " Veiled Prophet 

8o Camphire. 

of Khorassan," Moore has thus daintily availed himself of the 
comparison : 

" While some bring leaves of henna, to imbue 
The fingers' ends with a bright roseate hue, 
So bright, that in the mirror's depth they seem 
Like tips of coral-branches in the stream." 

As the henna is so little known in Western lands, a short 
description may not be deemed altogether foreign to the pur- 
pose of this book. It is a tall shrub, with the bark of the stem 
and branches of a deep grey. The leaves are of a lengthened 
oval form, opposite to each other, and of a faint green colour. 
The flowers grow at the extremities of the branches in long 
and tufted bouquets, supported by small red stalks, which give 
a very brilliant aspect to the plant, contrasting as they do with 
the delicate white and yellow of which the blossoms, collected 
in long clusters like the lilac, are coloured. 

Lane, in his work on " Egypt and the Egyptians," says that 
the Egyptian henna is pronounced more excellent than the 
rose ; and Mahomet said, " The chief of the sweet-scented 
flowers of this world and of the next is the faghiyeh" this 
being the bloom he meant. " I approve of his taste," adds 
Lane, " for this flower has most delicious fragrance." 

Sometimes the kupros, as the Greeks call this plant, grows 
on the hills of the islands in the Grecian Archipelago, pouring 
its sweetness on the vales beneath, " stealing and giving odour " 
to the passing airs of " the sweet south." Its blossoms, when 
gathered, are the favourites of the Hellenic women, who re- 
tain an ancestral fondness for flowers, and use them in pro- 

The Hindoo maidens dye their nails with henna as soon as 
they are betrothed, which is generally at a very early age ; they 
also use it to colour the soles of their feet and the palms of 
their hands. The practice of usihg this dye appears to be very 
ancient, from the circumstance that the mummies of Egypt 
have often their nails covered with the red paste of the henna. 

The aged Mahommedans frequently perfume their beards 
by holding the face over the vapour arising from a preparation 
of this odoriferous bloom, and this was doubtless the perfume 
which, poured upon Aaron's beard, was in its sweetness com- 
pared by the Psalmist to the delights of fraternal affection. 

Camp HIRE. 81 

An extract prepared from the dried leaves of this plant is 
used by Oriental races on visits and festive occasions, and is 
profusely employed in their religious ceremonies. 

In Egypt the henna flowers are hawked about the streets 
for sale, and the vendor, as he proceeds, cries aloud, "Oh, 
odours of Paradise ! Oh, flowers of the henna !" 

Miss Pratt, in her " Flowers and their Associations," intro- 
duces some lines of her own, in which this beloved bloom of 
the Orient is alluded to: 

"She read of isles renowned in song. 

Of sides of cloudless blue, 
And flowery plants which all year long 

Wore tints of brightest hue ; 
' Of vine-clad' groves and myrtle shades, 

And hiUs with verdure clad. 
Where rose and henna ever made 

The fragrant earth seem glad; 
.And as she read, the dreamer fair 
Sat, wishing that her home was there." 



THOSE matter-of-fact people who will always have a pro 
ready for their old gossips' con, assert that this flower de- 
rives its name from anemos, the Greek word for wind, and say 
thence came our poetical appellation of "the wind-flower." 
The glorious ancients, however, tell us that the anemone was 
formerly a nymph beloved by Zephyr, and that Flora, jealous 
of her beauty, banished her from her Court, and finally trans- 
formed her into the flower that now bears her name. Rapin 
makes use of this story in his Latin poem, " The Gardens," as 
he does also of another oft-told tale, which states that the 
anemone sprang from the blood of Adonis, combined with the 
tears which Venus shed over his body. There are so many 
versions of this latter fable that it is impossible to say which 
looks the most authentic. The Greek poet Bion, in his " La- 
ment for Adonis," says, 

" That wretched queen, Adonis bewailing, 
For every drop of blood lets fall a tear ; 
Two blooming flowers the mingled streams disclose : 
Anemone the tears ; the blood, a rose. 

Ovid's account of the metamorphosis is that Venus, lamenting 
over the bleeding body of her lover, endeavoured to perpetuate 
his memory and commemorate her grief by transforming his 
blood into a flower. 

Some writers say this delicate blossom received its name 
of the wind-flower because many of the species grow on ele- 
vated places, where they are exposed to the rough embraces of 
old Boreas; and others — for commentators on the subject are 
endless — think they are so called because they tremble and 
shiver before the vernal gales. Pliny goes so far as to assert that 
it never blooms except when the wind blows ; but then Pliny's 
experience of natural phenomena is well known to rival Mun- 
chausen's own. Strange to say, the Latin is thus supported in 

Anemone. 83 

his opinion by the authority of Horace Smith, in his poem of 

" Coy anemone, that ne'er uncloses 
Her lips until they 're blown on by the wind." 

It would certainly seem more characteristic for these frail 
blossoms to open their lips to the kisses of the sun, for, when 
he shines, 

" Thick strewn in woodland bowers, 
Anemones their stars uirfold." 

The anemones are natives of the East, whence their roots 
were originally brought. Their species are very numerous and 
have been much improved and diversified by culture. 

The Abbe la Pluche relates a suggestive anecdote of this 
flower. He informs us that M. Bachelier, a Parisian florist, 
having imported some very beautiful species of the anemone 
from the East Indies, kept them to himself in so miserly a 
manner that for ten successive years he would never allow the 
slightest fibre of his precious double-blossomed variety to pass 
out of his own hands, not even to his nearest and dearest friends. 
A councillor of the French Parliament, annoyed at seeing one 
man hoarding up for his own delight what Nature had most 
decidedly given for the benefit of the many, visited him at his 
country house, in the hope of obtaining means of breaking up 
this unjust monopoly. In walking round the garden, when he 
came to Bachelier's bed of much-prized anemones, which were 
then in seed, he skilfully let his robe fall on them ; by this de- 
vice he swept off a considerable number of the little grains, 
which adhered- to the garment. His servant, who had been 
previously instructed, dexterously wrapped them up in a mo- 
ment, without exciting any attention. At the first opportunity 
the councillor acquainted his friends with the successful result 
of his visit ; and by their participation in his theft, the flower 
soon became generally known. 

The wise Egyptians, who beheld a deep signification in all 
the productions of Nature, regarded the anemones as the em- 
blem of sickness, probably, it has been suggested, on account 
of its noxious properties. In some countries people have such 
a prejudice against the flowers of the field-anemone that they 
believe they so taint the air, that those who inhale it often 
incur severe illness. 

6 — 2 

84 Anemone. 

A well-known writer on floral themes deems it probable 
that it became so ill-omened a symbol on account of the frail 
and delicate appearance of the wild species, which she poeti- 
cally describes : " The flush of pale red which tinges the white 
petals of the wood-anemone might well remind us of that 
delicate glow which lingers on the cheek of the consumptive 
sufferer, marking to others the inward decay, but giving a 
lustre and a glow of beauty which deceives its victim." 

This last hypothesis is probably the true one ; and Sir 
William Jones, whose poetry is deeply imbued with Oriental 
learning, thus alludes to the fragility of this flower: 

" Youth, like a thin anemone, displays 
His silken leaf, and in a mom decays." 

The same author has translated an ode by the Turkish poet 

Mesihi, in which, amongst other sweet blooms, anemones are 

introduced : 

" See ! yon anemones their leaves unfold, 
With rubies flaming, and with living gold." 

In this country the buds of the wood-anemone are gene- 
rally of a snowy whiteness ; but sometimes a delicate flush, Uke 
the blush on a maiden's cheek, tinges their exquisitely formed 
petals, and sometimes they are found coloured a rosy red. 

"These flowers are like the pleasures of the world," said 
Shakspeare ; and admirably expressive of the transitory nature 
of beauty was that device of a fragile anemone with the motto 
"Brevis est usus." (" Her reign is short.") 

The best known species of this flower, the wood-anemone, 
grows very far north, and is common in the woods of North 
America. They are considered very unwholesome for cattle, 
and two kinds which grow on that continent are said to prove 
fatal to animals who eat them. 

Linnaeus observed that the wood-anemone expanded in 
Sweden at the same time that the swallows returned from their 
migration, and British naturalists have observed the same phe- 
nomenon. Mrs. Hemans has remarked the beautiful pencilling 
of this flower; and Miss Pratt has favoured us with these 
appropriate lines to wood-anemones : 

" Flowers of the wild wood ! your home is there, 
'Mid aU that is fragrant, all that is fair; 

Anemone. 85 

Where the wood-mouse makes his home in the earth ; 
Where gnat and butterfly have their birth ; 
Where leaves are dancing over each flower, 
Fanning it well in the noontide hour, 
And the breath of the wind is murmuring low. 
As branches are bending to and fro. 

" Sweet are the memories that ye bring 
Of the pleasant leafy woods of spring ; 
Of the wild bee, so gladly humming. 
Joyous that earth's young flowers are coming ; 
Of the nightingale and merry thrush, 
Cheerfiilly singing from every bush ; 
And the aiclcoo's note, when the air is still. 
Heard far away on the distant hill. 

' Pure are the sights and sounds of the wild 
Ye can bring to the heart of Nature's child j 
Plain and beautiful is the story 
That ye tell of your Maker's glory; 
Useful the lesson that ye bear. 
That fragile is all, however fair ; 
While ye teach that time is on his wing. 
As ye open tlie blossoms of every spring " 



IN France the Periwinkle, which there is sometimes called 
" the magician's violet," is considered the emblem of sin- 
cere friendship, and as such is much used in their language of 
flowers. The English have adopted this evergreen plant as 
the representative of tender recollections, and, accepting it for 
that, the following little anecdote appears very appropriate: 
Rousseau tells us that one day, when walking with Madame 
de Warens, she suddenly exclaimed, " Here is the periwinkle 
yet in flower !" Being too short-sighted to see the plant with- 
out stooping, he had never observed it before; he gave it a 
passing glance, and saw it no more for thirty years. At the 
end of that period, as he was walking with a friend, " having 
then began," he says, " to botanize a little, in looking among 
the bushes by the way, I uttered a cry of joy: 'Ah, there is 
the periwinkle !' and so it was." He gives this as an instance 
of the vivid recollection he had of every incident occurring at 
a particular period of his life. Although the story is trifling, 
it is so natural, is told with so much simplicity, and is so appli- 
cable to our purpose, that we could not think of omitting it. 

In Italy the country people make garlands of this plant, to 
place upon the biers of their deceased children, for which reason 
they name it the " flower of death." But in Germany it is the 
symbol of immortality; and, because its fine glossy myrtle- 
green leaves flourish all through the winter, they term it " win- 
ter verdure." 

Its bright blue blossoms and still brighter green leaves have 
not been overlooked by the poets ; and we find Eliza Cook 
introducing it into her pathetic poem of "The Blind Boy:" 

Periwinkle. 87 

" We asked him why he wept, mother. 
Whene'er we found the spots 
Where periwinkle crept, mother. 

O'er wild forget-me-nots. 
'Ah me ! ' he said, while tears ran down 

As fast as sunmier showers ; 
' It is because I caimot see 

The sunshine and the flowers.' " 

Chaucer repeatedly speaks of it in his " Romaunt of the 
Rose," even making it one of the ornaments of the God of 

" His garment was every dele 
Ipurtraied and wrought with floures. 
By divers medeling of coloures ; 
Floures there was of many a gise, 
Iset by campace in a sise ; 
There lacked no floure to my dome, 
Ne not so moch as floure of brome, 
Ne violet, ne eke perevink, 
Ne floure none that men can on think." 

The Madagascar periwinkle is a lovely plant, with an up- 
right stem three or four feet high ; its flowers are crimson or 
peach-coloured on the upper surface, and a pale flesh-colour on 
the under: it varies with a white flower, having a purple eye. 
It will seldom live out of doors in this climate. 

In his " Herbal," old Culpepper says that the periwinkle is 
owned by Venus, and that " the leaves, eaten together by man 
and wife, caused love between them;" but now-a-daj-s it re- 
quires a somewhat stronger tonic, apparently, to produce so 
desirable a result. 


Weeping Willow. 


THE Weeping Willow is one of those natural emblems 
which bear their florigraphical meaning so palpably im- 
pressed on their sympathetic faces that the merest novice in 
the language of flowers must comprehend their signification at 
first sight. This tree has ever been regarded as the symbol of 
sorrow, and most appropriately, for not only do its pensive- 
looking branches droop mournfully towards the ground, but 
even very frequently little drops of water are to be seen stand- 
ing, like tears, upon the pendent leaves. In its native East it 
is often planted over graves, and with its sorrowful, afflicted 
look, forms a most appropriate guardian of dear departed ones' 
remains. Although it will grow in any ordinary ground, it 
thrives best in the neighbourhood of streams or other moist 
ground, for which situations, indeed. Nature has in every way 
fitted it. Many a delightful English landscape owes a large 
portion of its quiet beauty — its soothing pensiveness — to these 

"Shadowy trees, that lean 
So elegantly o'er the water's brim " 

of the bright little brook that, heedless of man's joy or grief, 
flows merrily on for ever 

" By many a field and fallow. 
And many a fairy foreland set 
With willow-mead and mallow." 

As long ago as Virgil the poets learnt to tell how "willows 
grow about rivers ; " or, if we may rely on Pope's rendering of 
Homer, as far back as the days of " the blind old man of Scio's 
rocky isle," were seen and noted "willows tremblinp- o'er the 

Weeping Willow. 89 

The author of the " Essay on Man " should know something 
about the lachrymal tree, as, according to popular tradition, he 
raised the first known specimen of it in England. Martyn 
relates the story thus: 

" The famous and admired weeping willow planted by Pope, 
which has since been felled to the ground, came from Spain, 
enclosing a present for Lady Suffolk. Pope was present when 
the covering was taken off; he observed that the pieces of stick 
appeared as if they had some vegetation, and added, ' Perhaps 
they may produce something we have not in England.' Under 
this idea, he planted it in his garden, and it produced the 
willow-tree that has given birth to so many others." 

According to this same authority, this progenitor of so many 
lovely offspring, and which had only reached its fourteenth 
year when the poet died, was cut down by order of its owner, 
in order to put an end to the annoyance she experienced 
from the numberless applicants for cuttings of the precious 
relic, or even for a view of it. It is sad that so interesting a 
tree could not have been suffered to perish by the hand of 
time : that was indeed a tree the woodman should have 
spared ! 

Linnaeus named this tree Salix Babylonica, or Willow of 
Babylon, in allusion to an affecting passage in the hundred 
and thirty-seventh Psalm, where the captive children of Israel 
are represented as hanging their harps upon the willows by the 
rivers of Babylon, where they sat down and wept at the re- 
membrance of their native land, and at the request of their 
captors that they should sing unto them one of the songs of 
Zion; for, as the Psalmist makes them so pathetically cry, 
" How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land .■'" 

In his " Hebrew Melodies," Byron has bequeathed us two 
passionate poems, suggested by this song of the royal minstrel 
The following is the most appropriate here : 

" We sat down and wept by the waters 

Of Babel, and thought of the day 
When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters, 

Made Salem's high places his prey; 
And ye, O her desolate daughters ! 

Were scattered all weeping away. 

" While sadly we gazed on the river, 
Which rolled on in freedom below. 

go Weeping Willow. 

He demanded the song ; but, oh, never 

That triumph the stranger shall know ! 
May this right hand be withered for ever 

Ere it string our high harp for the foe ! 

" On the willows that harp is suspended, 

O Salem ! Its sound should be free : 
And the hour when thy glories were ended 

But left me that token of thee ; 
And ne'er shall its soft note be blended 

With the voice of the spoiler by me." 

Ever, from the earliest times, the willow has been regarded 
as the emblem of grief, and as such our older poets have fre- 
quently connected it with forsaken and unhappy lovers. There 
is an ancient ballad in " Percy's Reliques," entitled " The Wil- 
low Tree," being a pastoral dialogue between two rural swains, 
in which this tree is depicted as the ensign of mourning: 

Willy speaks : 

" How now, shepherde, what meanes that? 
Why that willowe in thy hat ? 
Why thy scarffes of red and yellowe 
Turned to branches of green willowe ?" 

Cuddy replies : 

' They are changed, and so am I ; 
Sorrowes live, but pleasures die : 
Phillis hath forsaken mee. 
Which makes me weare the willowe-tret. " 

Willy speaks : 

" Shepherde, be advised by mee. 
Cast off grief and willowe-tree ; 
For thy grief brings her content : 
She is pleased if thou lament." 

Cuddy answers : 

" Herdsman, I '11 be ruled by thee, — 
There liees grief and willowe-tree; 
Henceforth I will do as they, 
And love a new love every day. " 

Percy includes in his vaiuaUe collection another still older 
and more pathetic ballad, named after the willow, and believes 
it to be the song that Desdemona thus affectingly introduces : 

" My mother had a maid called Barbara : 
She was in love ; and he she lov'd prov'd mad. 
And did forsake her. She had a song of ' Willow.' 
An old thing 't was, but it express'd her fortune, 
And she died singing it" 

Weeping Willow. 91 

Our immortal bard, whose knowledge of florigraphy was as 
thorough as was all his perceptions of things affecting the 
human passions, again most appropriately introduces this em- 
blematic plant inta the scene of Ophelia's death : 

" There is a willow grows aslant the brook, 
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream ; 
There with fantastic garlands did she come. 
Of crow-floweis, nettles, daisies, and long purples. 
That Uberal shepherds give a grosser name, 
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them ; 
There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds 
Clambering to hang, an envious sUver broke ; 
When down her weedy trophies and herself 
Fell in the weeping brook." 

In that most exquisite, lovely scene in the " Merchant of 
Venice," where Jessica and Lorenzo hold sweet conference, 
Shakspeare yet again makes use of this plant as the symbol of 
unfortunate love. Lorenzo, alluding to the abandonment of 
the ill-treated Carthaginian queen by .^neas, says : 

" In such a night 
Stood Dido, with a wrillow in her hand, 
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love 
To come again to Carthage." 

Numberless other excerpts from the glowing verse of " Na- 
ture's child" might be given to prove that he regarded the 
willow as the emblem of grief; but, cui bono? His worthy 
compatriot, Michael Drayton, speaks of it in his wreath of 
typical floralities, the " Muses' Elysium," thus : 

" In love, the sad forsaken wight 
The willow garland weareth. " 

Spenser designates it as 

" The willow worn of forlorn paramours." 

Robert Herrick, in that medley of sweets and sours, his 
" Hesperides," has two beautiful poems respectively addressed 
to the willow-tree and a willow garland. The first runs thus : 

"Thou art to all lost love the best, " When once the lover's rose is dead. 

The only true plant found ; Or laid aside forlorn. 

Wherewith young men and maids distrest. Then wHlow garlands 'bout the head 
And left of love, are crowned. Bedewed with tears, are worn. 

Q2 Weeping Willow. 

" When with neglect, the lover's bane, " And underneath thy cooling shade, 

Poor maids rewarded be When weary of the light, 

For their love lost, their only gain The love-spent youth and love-sick maid 

Is but a wreath from thee. Come to weep out the night." 

And the second song of our English Anacreon is thus quaintly 
worded : 

"A wiUow garland thou didst send, Me wear the willow; after that 

Perfiimed, last day, to me; To die upon the tree. 

Which did but only this portend : „ ^^ leasts unto the altar go 

I was forsook by thee. -^Vith garlands dressed, so I 

"Since so it is, I '11 tell thee what: Will with my vi-iUow wreath also 

To-morrow thou shalt see Come forth and sweetly die." 

Churchill alludes to the ominous character of 

"The willow, weepii^ o'er the fatal wave. 
Where many a lover finds a watery grave. " 

As already seen, the ancient Hebrews assigned the same 
melancholy signification to the weeping willow as do the mo- 
derns ; to the Arabs it represents the same sorrowful meaning, 
and they have a singular legend to account for its origin. This 
legend is founded upon the story of Bathsheba, and corresponds 
to a certain extent with the biblical account of how she became 
David's wife and Solomon's mother. The tradition is thus 
detailed : One morning the king was seated as usual at his 
harp, composing psalms, when he perceived, to his astonish- 
ment, two strangers seated opposite to him on the divan. As 
strict orders were issued that no -person should be admitted 
during the first four hours of the day, David wondered greatly 
how the strangers had gained access to his chamber. They 
rose and begged pardon for having entered unannounced, be- 
cause they had an urgent complaint to lay before him. David 
quitted the harp, and placed himself on his judgment-seat. 
" This man," began one of them, " has ninety-nine sheep, which 
plentifully supply all his wants ; while I, poor wretch, had but 
one, that was my joy and comfort, and that one he has taken 
forcibly from me." At the mention of the ninety-nine sheep, 
David could not help thinking of the flock of his harem. He 
recognized in the strangers two angels of the Lord, and was 
sensible of the heinousness of his offence. Forthwith he threw 
himself upon the floor and shed tears of bitter repentance. 
There he lay for forty days and forty nights upon his face, 
weeping and trembling before the judgment of the Lord. As 

Weeping Willow. 93 

many tears of repentance as the whole human race have shed 
and will shed on account of their sins from the time of David 
till the Judgment Day, so many did David weep in those forty 
days, all the while moaning forth psalms of penitence. The 
tears from his eyes formed two streams, which ran from the 
room into the garden. Where they sank into the ground 
sprang up two trees, the weeping willow and the frankincense- 
tree. The first weeps and mourns, and the second is inces- 
santly shedding big tears in commemoration of the sincere re- 
pentance of David. 

Hans C. Andersen, whose pathetic stories, if written for the 
young, never fail to delight children of a larger growth, has a 
most affecting tale entitled " Under the Willow-Tree," in which 
the tree plays a part almost human in its interest. He is a 
writer who frequently avails himself of the poetic imagery which 
florigraphy so profusely proffers. 

In Wiffen's translation of Garcillasso, he thus renders a 
sonnet, in which the Spanish poet dedicates the willow to his 

mistress : 

"For Daphne's laurel Phoebus gave his voice; 
The tovifering poplar charmed stem Hercules ; 
The myrtle sweet, whose gifted flowers rejoice 

Young hearts in love, did most warm Venus please ; 
The little green willow is my Fledri's choice : 

She gathers it amidst a thousand trees. 
Thus laiiiel, poplar, and sweet m5rrtle now, 
Where'er it grows, shall to the willow bow." 

Well might the poet speak of the "little green willow," for„ 
as Linnaeus remarks of the herbaceous willow, "amongst all 
trees this is the smallest." Dr. Clarke, in his most interesting 
"Norwegian Travels," thus introduces this fairy-like treeling:. 
" We soon recognized some of our old Lapland acquaintances,, 
such as Betula nana, with its minute leaves like silver pennies, 
mountain birch, and the dwarf Alpine species of willow, of 
which half a dozen trees, with all their branches, leaves, flowers,, 
and roots, might be compressed within two of the pages of a 
lady's pocket-book without coming in contact with each other. 

" After our return to England, specimens of the Salix her- 
bacea were given to our friends, which, when framed and glazed, 
had the appearance of miniature drawings. The author, in col- 
lecting them for his herbary, has frequently compressed twenty 
of these trees between two of the pages of a duodecimo volume." 



THIS symbol of lovers fidelity was anciently dedicated to 
the memory of departed souls, and in Greece, where it is 
still very common, it was much used at funeral ceremonies ; it 
was planted around the tombs of the deceased ; and it was 
believed that beyond the fatal river, Acheron, the shades wan- 
dered in a vast field of asphodels, and drank forgetfulness from 
Lethe's dull waters of oblivion. The flowers of the asphodel 
produce grains with which it was thought that the dead were 
nourished. Orpheus, in Pope's splendid " Ode for St Cecilia's 
Day," conjures the infernal deities 

" By the streams that ever flow, 
By the fragrant winds that blow 

O'er the Elysian flowers ; 
By those happy souls who dwell 
In yellow meads of asphodel, 

Or amaranthine bowers." 

We have as old an authority as Homer for stating that, after 
having crossed the Styx, the shades passed over a long plain 
of asphodels. St. Pierre, in his beautiful " Harmonies of Na- 
ture," after having dwelt with some earnestness on the pro- 
priety of planting flowers on graves, quotes this inscription, 
found engraven on an ancient tomb : 

" Au dehors je suis entouri de mauve et d'asphodele set au-dedans je ne 
suis qu'un cadavre. " 

Mrs. Browning appears to have entertained a partiality for 
this emblem, she mentions it so frequently in her deathless 
verse. In one of her glorious sonnets from the Portuguese, 
into which she has imparted more beauties than the originals 
possess, she thus magnificiently and symbolically introduces 
the token flower : 



" My own, my own. 
Who earnest to me when the world was gone, 

And I, who only looked for God, found thee I 
I find thee ; I am safe, and strong, and glad. 

As one who stands in dewless asphodel 
Looks backward on the tedious time he had 

In the upper life, so I, with bosom swell. 
Make witness here, between the good and bad. 

That love as strong as death retrieves as well." 

In his " Sensitive Plant," Shelley places amongst the other 
dainty plants that in the enchanted garden grew 

" Delicate bells. 
As fair as the fabulous asphodels." 

Milton makes use of this floral token for forming the couch 
of our first parents in " Eden's guiltless garden." 

In the German Blumensprache this flower signifies everything 
shall soon be revealed to you; and this will be seen to be a most 
poetical signification when it is remembered that the asphodel 
is dedicated to departed souls, to whom Death does indeed 
reveal everything. In his beautiful ballad of the "King of 
Thul6," Gothe has finely worked out this idea of fidelity unto 
death : 

"There was a king in Thul6, 
Who unto death was true ; 
To whom his love in dying 
A golden goblet threw. 

" At ev'ry feast before him 
The golden cup was set ; 
And as he drank came o'er him 
A mist — ^his eyes were wet. 

" And when his life was closing. 
He gave his cities up ; 
He gave his lands and castles, 
But kept his dead love's cup. 

" He feasted in his kingly hall 
With all his knights around ; 
High in the lordly castle. 
That o'er the ocean frown'd. 

" Uprose the olden toper. 

And life's last draught did drain. 
Then threw the sacred goblet 
Down in the soaring main. 

" He saw it falling — drinking — 
And sinking in the sea ; 
His eyelids closed for ever, 
And never more drank he.'' 







IF ever any one single production of nature was intended to 
supply all the manifold necessities of the human race, the 
favourite selected for that purpose was most assuredly the Aloe; 
for in some countries, more especially in Mexico, it provides 
for nearly every want that flesh is heir to, not the least of 
which are food and drink, raiment, decoration, building mate- 
rials, and medicine ; indeed, what the rose is amongst plants 
for beauty, so is the emblem of bitterness for utility; and he 
who would attempt to wade through all that has been written 
concerning it and its valuable uses, would have to devote a life- 
time to the design. Many languages of flowers have selected 
this interesting plant as the representative oi grief , but for very 
trivial reasons ; and its adoption as the symbol of bitterness 
will be found on examination far more appropriate, and, indeed, 
far more ancient : " as bitter as aloes " is a proverbial expres- 
sion of great antiquity, doubtless derived from the well-known 
acrid taste of the medicine prepared from its juices. Chaucer 
alludes to this bitterness in the story of "Troilus and Cres- 
sida," and in his " Reniedie for Love " he speaks of its sweet- 
ness ; here, however, alluding to its odour, and not to its taste. 

The great antiquity of the use of aloes as a perfume is shown 
by the Bible: "All thy garments," says a passage in the Psalms, 
" smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia ;" and in the Song of 
Solomon it is mentioned as one of the chief spices. 

Eastern poets invariably speak of it as the symbol of bitter- 
ness: "As aloe is to the body, so is affliction to the soul: bitter, 
very bitter." Alas ! alas ! how many of us, regarding this 
flower, thus can adopt it as our emblem, and cry out with Maud's 

Aloe. 97 

*• Ah, what shall I be at fifty, 

Should Nature keep me alive ? 
If I find the world so bitter 
When I am but twenty-five. " 

How few can turn from this bitterness, and regard our chosen 
bloom, as Burckhardt tells us the Mahommedans do, as the em- 
blem oi patience, which, indeed, its Arabic name of saber signi- 
fies ! In the neighbourhood of their sacred city, Mecca, this 
same authority states that at the extremity of almost every 
grave, on a spot facing the epitaph, is planted an aloe, as an 
allusion to the patience which it is necessary for us to exercise 
in enduring that length of time which must elapse between 
now and the great day of resurrection. 

In Edgar Foe's beautiful, though boyish, poem of "Al 
Aaraaf," we find a certain species of aloe represented as quite 
the reverse of its Oriental florigraphical meaning of patience ; 
for, says that melodious poet, 

" That aspiring flower that sprang on earth. 
And died ere scarce exalted into birth. 
Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing 
Its way to heaven from gardens of a kuig." 

The flower alluded to was an aloe that St. Pierre speaks of as 
cultivated in the king's garden at Paris. Its large and beautiful 
flower, says the French author, exhales a strong odour of the 
vanilla during the time of its expansion, which is very short. 
It does not blow till towards the month of July ; you then 
perceive it gradually open its petals, expand them, fade, and 
die. Sic transit gloria inundi. 

Elsewhere, St. Pierre, speaking of the aloe, says, "Nature 
seems to have treated the Africans and Asiatics as barbarians, 
in having given them these at once magnificent yet monstrous 
vegetables ; and to have dealt with us as beings capable of 
sensibility and society. Oh, when shall I breathe the perfume 
of the honeysuckle ? — again repose myself upon a carpet of 
milk-weed, saffron, and bluebells .'' — once more hear Aurora 
welcomed with the songs of the labourer blessed with freedom 
and content.'" From the specimens of the aloe seen in this 
country, one would feel inclined to fancy that its utility far 
surpassed its beauty ; but many who have seen it growing in 
its native land, and in full flower, assert that its elegance and 
loveliness are only rivalled by its extraordinary usefulness. 

98 Aloe. 

The larger kinds appear pre-eminent in all these properties, 
Rousseau speaks of the beauty of the American aloe, or agave, 
as botanists term that species. St. Pierre, as before mentioned, 
speaks of its large and beautiful vanilla-scented flowers, and 
the very name of agave, which is derived from the Greek, sig- 
nifies "admirable" or "glorious." 

In Wood's " Zoography," it is stated that the Mahommedans, 
especially those resident in Egypt, regard the aloe as a sacred 
symbol, and, on their return from a pilgrimage to Mecca, one 
of their holy cities, hang it over the street door, as a sign that 
they have performed that religious duty. They also consider 
that this plant scares away evil spirits and apparitions from 
entering the house ; and, what is still more singular, the native 
Christians and Jews share the superstition, or at all events 
participate in the custom, and suspend it over their doorways, 
as any one walking through the streets of Cairo may perceive. 

The aloe, which, owing to its lofty stem, is one of the most 
gigantic flowers known, until recently was supposed to blossom 
only once in a century, and then to explode with the noise of a 
cannon. Modern investigation has proved the fallacy of these 
once popular notions ; but, true it is, that, although in hot 
climates these plants will flower in a few years, in these colder 
sountries they require a much longer space of time, and some, 
indeed, never attain the desirable honour. The flowers are 
mostly of a greenish yellow colour, continue in bloom for some 
months, and surmount a stalk thirty feet high. The leaves, 
although generally of a dark green, are sometimes striped with 
red, white, or yellow. Their evergreen nature obtained from 
our ancestors the name of " sea-ayegreene " for the plant. 

Of the leaves of the aloe are made, by the negroes in Sene- 
gal, excellent ropes, which are not hable to rot in water, and 
also turn the plant to account in many other useful ways ; 
whilst, as for the poor in Mexico, they, it is said, derive almost 
every necessary of life from a species of it. They call this 
wonderful production thepit^, and use it, says Baron Humboldt, 
as a substitute for the hemp of Asia, the paper-reed of Egypt, 
and the vine of Europe. The ancient manuscripts of Mexico, 
which have so exci,ted the curiosity of the learned, and aff"orded 
historians and antiquarians so much knowledge of the manners 
and customs of that persecuted people, are chiefly inscribed 

Aloe. 99 

upon paper made from the fibres of the pit4. In the time of 
the unfortunate Montezuma, thousands of persons appear to 
have been employed in the production of "picture-writings," 
as Doctor Robertson justly styles these hieroglyphics. The 
Mexicans still carefully cultivate the pit4, on account of an 
intoxicating liquor called pulque, which is prepared from the 
juice of its flowers. The natives are accustomed to watch so 
earnestly for the blossoms that, it is asserted, they can tell, by 
invariable signs, the very hour at which they will burst into 
expansion. Mr. Ward says, " They ascribe to pulque as many 
good qualities as whisky is said to possess in Scotland." 

The Abbe la Pluche gives some interesting particulars of 
the Chinese aloe-tree. He informs us that the heart of the 
stem, which diffuses a powerful fragrance, is called calambac in 
the Indies, and is deemed more precious than gold : it is used 
for perfuming the apartments and garments of the wealthy, 
and is also used as a setting for the most costly jewels. " When 
the Indians purpose to honour their revered deity, the devil, 
with some peculiar testimonies of devotion, they perforate the 
ears with nails manufactured from this plant." The immense 
size of the aloe and its slowness of growth have often afforded 
our poets happy allusions. Campbell styles it " tlie ever- 
lasting aloe." 



THE genus to which this shrub belongs is named Daphne, 
from the nymph beloved of Apollo, some of the species 
greatly resembling the bay, into which tree that maid was 
transformed. The most beautiful member of this fragrant- 
leaved family is the Mezereon, the emblem of coquetry. The 
stalk of this bush is covered with a dry bark, which causes it 
to resemble dead wood ; but, early in the spring, before the 
leaves appear, it bedecks itself with garlands of red flowers, 
wreathing them round each of its sprays, and terminating each 
coquettish curl with a small leafy tuft. Thus it is, as Cowper 
expresses it, 

"Though leafless, well attired, and thick beset 
With blushing wreaths investing ev'ry spray." 

The mezereon is very sweet scented ; and, where there are 
many near each other, they perfume the air to a considerable 
distance. It is said, but on very dubious authority, that this 
fragrance is dangerous to human beings. 

In a language of flowers that appeared some years ago, this 
shrub, clothed in its showy garb, was amusingly compared to 
an imprudent and coquettish female, who, though shivering with 
cold, wears her spring attire in the depth of winter. Most of 
the European languages give the mezereon a name equivalent 
to female bay. 

A good yellow dye is extracted from its branches, and a 
useful and valuable medicine from its bark. The berries, which 
are a violent poison, are yellow on the white-flowered, and red 
on the peach-coloured varieties. 

The silvery-leaved species is very pretty. Its leaves are 
white, small, soft, and shiny as satin ; between them blossom 
thick clusters of white bell-shaped flowers, tinged inside with 

MeZEREON. 101 

Another variety, which is a native of Jamaica, is known as 
" lace-wood." The inner bark is of such a texture that it may- 
be drawn out in long webs like lace, and has been actually 
worn as such. Charles II. had a cravat made of it, which Sir 
Thomas Lynch, when Governor of Jamaica, presented to him. 

It is sad, but too true, that very many fair daughters of Eve 
might appropriately adopt this flower as their emblem : their 
conversation is prompted by no deeper feelings than that lady 
whom Mrs. Browning represents as saying 

<■ < Yes,' I answered you last night ; 
'No,' this morning, sir, I say. 
Colours seen by candle-light 
Are different seen by day. 
When the viols played their best. 
Lamps above and laughs below, 
Love me sounded lilie a jest. 
Fit lor yes or fit for no." 

Alas ! how many have lived to find that loving means some- 
thing more than jesting! Ladies fair, take heed in time: as 
for male coquettes, although they have been heard of in song, 
let us hope that such despicable creatures as they would be are 
only the offspring of fiction. 

How many have been no more fortunate in their wooing, 
when wasting their time on a heartless coquette, than the hero 
of these lines : 

"We met — alas the luckless eve ! "When we returned and joined the dance 

We met — 'twas at the county ball ; Once more my partner she became. 

And straightway she a web did weave. And gave me many a loving glance. 

And I was caught within the thrall. Till my young heart was all on flame. 

We danced; my heart and feet kept time, And when she left, I saw her down 

While both as yet remained to me ; Into the carriage at the door ; 

But long before the supper-time, I pressed her hand — she did not ho\ra. 

The first was hers — the latter free. And so I muttered, ^Au revoir!' 

"Her arm on mine, we went downstairs; "Next day I called in eager haste, 

J happiest of ' creation's lords.' My seeming pleasant suit to press : 

You 'd thought I 'd ne'er known earthly In these affairs time should not waste, 

cares I found her in, as you might guess. 

To see me trip across the boards. My lady in, my love I told. 

We found our seats ; I close beside her, When she, her pretty face averting. 

With no grim mamma vis-a-vis. Replied in studied accents cold, 

To watch how I with whispers plied ' Well, truly, sir, I was \so.\. flirting'.' " 

Or note how ofl she smiled on me. John Ingram. 

Sensitive Plant. 


THIS delicate emblem of bashfulness is a member of the 
mimosa family, and in its native home is said to grow to 
a considerable size, although here it is a mere hothouse plant. 
Its remarkable susceptibility to touch is stated to increase in 
proportion with the tenderness of its nature. A writer, ad- 
verting to this statement, remarks that in the plant this nervous 
sensibility is encouraged for its singularity. " It is a pity," the 
lady pointedly adds, " there should not be the same reason for 
encouraging it in the human species." What, O gentle reader, 
more sensitive to contact with the outer world than that shy 
receptacle of a thousand soft emotions — the human heart.' 
And yet, alas ! what numberless rebuffs it is continually re- 
ceiving from careless mortals ! How much joy or pain a care- 
less word, a slighting look, may repress or cause ! How many 
sensitive minds have recoiled from a slight, given more from 
want of thought than want of heart ! Pity and spare that bash- 
fulness which you so frequently misjudge, O heedless world ! 
and grant this prayer : 

' ' Speak kindly, oh, speak kindly ; The value can't be counted 

You cannot tell the worth Or measured out by plan. 

Of words of loving-kindness Of words of kindness spoken 

In our journey through the earth. From man to brother man ! " 

Ella Ingram. 

The sensitive plant is one of those eccentric productions of 
nature, whose phenomena the knowledge of man has not been 
enabled satisfactorily to explain : its leaves, when touched by 
any external object, fold up and shrink modestly from contact. 
Our old pastoral poet, W. Browne, alludes to its peculiarities 
thus : 

"Look at the feeling-plant, which learned swains 
Relate to grow on the East Indian plains, 
Shrinks up his dainty leaves if any sand 
Vou throw thereon, or touch it with your hand." 

Sensitive Plant. 103 

Matthew Prior alludes to the diversity of opinion as to what 
causes this phenomenon : 

"Whence does it happen that the plant, which weU 
We name the 'sensitive,' should move and feel? 
Whence know her leaves to answer her command, 
And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand ?" 

Darwin, the author of the "Loves of the Plants," en'ea- 
voured to account for the strange dislike this plant exhibits to 
the touch of foreign objects ; but his explanations were not 
very convincing. His lines upon another of its habits, that of 
contracting towards evening and expanding when morning 
dawns, are more alluring : 

" Weak, with nice sense, the chaste mimosa stands ; 
From each rude touch withdraws her timid hands. 
Oft, as light clouds pass o'er the Summer's glade, 
Alarm'd, she trembles at the moving shade. 
And feels alive through all her tender form 
The whisper'd murmurs of the gathering storm ; 
Shuts her sweet eyelids to approaching night. 
And hails with freshen'd charms the rosy light." 

There is one most remarkable member of this extraordinary 
family, known as the "friendly-tree," which droops its branches 
whenever any person approaches it, seeming as if it saluted 
those who sought retreat beneath its sheltering boughs. Moore 

' " That courteous tree, 

Wliich bows to all who seek its canopy." 

Shelley's sweet characteristic poem of "The Sensitive Plant " 
is well known ; but a few of its blossoms will not lose aught 
of their ethereal grace by reproduction here : 

"A sensitive plant in a garden grew. 
And the young winds fed it with silver dew, 
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light. 
And closed them beneath the kisses of night. 

"And the Spring arose on the garden fair, 
And the spirit of love fell everywhere ; 
And each flower and herb on earth's dark breast 
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. 

*' But none ever trembled and panted with bliss. 
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness, 
Like a doe in the noontide, with love's sweet want, 
As the companionless sensitive plant 

I04 Sensitive Plant. 

' ' For each was interpenetrated 
With the light and odour its neighbour shed, 
Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear. 
Wrapped and filled with their mutual atmosphere, 

"But the sensitive plant, which could give small fruit 
Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root, 
Received more than all, it loved more than ever. 
Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver — 

"For the sensitive plant has no bright flower; 
Radiance and odour are not its dower ; 
It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full, 
It desires what it has not — the beautiful ! 

"The sensitive plant was the earliest 
Upgathered into the bosom of rest ; 
A sweet child weary of its delight. 
The feeblest and yet the favourite. 
Cradled within the embrace of night. " 

Tlie sad ending of " this strange eventful history " who 
knows not ? How the lady who was the " ruling grace " of 
this sweet garden, "ere the first leaf looked brown 'neath 
Autumn's kisses, passed from this life away," and how the 
neglected flowers faded, " leaf after leaf, day by day, until all 
were massed into the common clay " ? while 

"The sensitive plant, like one forbid, 
Wept, and the tears within each lid 
Of its folded leaves which together grew. 
Were changed to a blight of frozen glue. 

"For the leaves soon fell, and the branches soon 
By the heavy axe of the blast were hevm ; 
The sap shrank to the root through every pore. 
As blood to a heart that will beat no more." 

And finally 

"When Winter had gone and Spring came back. 
The sensitive plant was a leafless wreck. " 

Heaven guard the human sensitive plant from such a fate ! 

Shelley only dowers the subject of his verse with love, 
and denies it odour as well as beauty ; but travellers affirm 
that in Brazil, where it is common, it grows to a size almost 
colossal, and diffuses a most delicious perfume. Dr. Clarke 
says that frankincense, that most fragrant of odours, is the 
product of the Egyptian mimosa. The acanthus-tree spoken 
of by Theophrastus and Virgil is supposed to be a species of 
this latter mimosa. 



BEAUTIFULLY does our great poet, Robert Browning, 
call these emblems of riches, "the buttercups, the little 
children's dower." Of all the mingled sad and sweet memories 
of childhood, what is recalled more vividly than that feeling of 
being the possessor of boundless wealth, as, amid the glowing 
fields of gold which these wild flowers spread around us, we 
have — ^to quote from Eliza Cook — 

" Stood like an elf in fairy lands. 

With a wide and wistful stare ; 
As a maiden over her casket stands, 
'Mid heaps of jewels beneath her hands. 

Uncertain which to wear ! " 

This same lady, in some pathetic and appropriate lines, re- 
calling childhood's faded glories, sweetly introduces this floral 
reminder : 

" 'T is sweet to love in childhood, when the souls that we bequeath 
Are beautiful in freshness as the coronals we wreathe ; 
When we feed the gentle robin, and caress the leaping hound, 
And linger latest on the spot where buttercups are found : 
When we seek the bee and ladybird with laughter, shout, and song, 
And think the day for wooing them can never be too long. 
Oh ! 't is sweet to love in childhood, and tho' stirr'd by meanest things. 
The music that the heart jfields then will never leave its strings. 

" 'T is sweet to love in after years the dear one by our side ; 
To dote with all the mingled joys of passion, hope, and pride ; 
To think the chain around our breast will hold still warm and fast ; 
And grieve to know that death must come to break the link at last. 
But when the rainbow span of blLss is waning, hue by hue ; 
When eyes forget their kindly beams, and lips become less true ; 
When stricken hearts are pining on through many a lonely hour. 
Who would not sigh ' 't is safer far to love the bird and flower ' ? 

io6 Buttercups. 

" 'Tis sweet to love in ripen'd age the trumpet blast of Fame, 
To pant to live on Glory's scroll, though blood may trace the name ; 
'T is sweet to love the heap of gold, and hug it to our breast, — 
To trust it as the guiding star and anchor of our rest. 
But such devotion will not serve — however strong the zeal — 
To overthrow the altar where our childhood loved to kneel. 
Some bitter moment shall o'ercapt the sun of wealth and power, 
And then proud man would fain go back to worship bird and flower." 

Under the antique names of crow-foot, king-cup, gold-cup, 
and other quaint but suggestive titles, these flowers were for- 
merly much praised, but latterly our poets have neglected 
them for other blooms ; still, however, it must be confessed, 
notwithstanding the more elaborate beauty of garden flowers, 
generally awarding their tribute to the wildings of nature. 
Shakspeare's "cuckoo-buds of yellow" are supposed to be 
buttercups, for they " do paint the meadows with delight," and 
spread out before our enraptured gaze a glittering Field of 
Cloth of Gold, whereon fays might well hold their elfin tour- 
neys, and fairy queens keep festive court. 

Poor Clare frequently introduced this wild flower into his 
pictures of rural life, and in one of his poems makes it serve 
as a goblet for the fays : in his "Village Minstrel," he combines 
the buttercup with its almost invariable companion in poesy, 
the : 

" Before the door, with paths untraced, 

The green sward many a beauty gracei! > 

And daisy there, and cowslip too, 

And buttercups of golden hue. " 

Eliza Cook has given us a poem to "Buttercups and Daisies," 
beginning — 

" I never see a young hand hold 
The starry bunch of white and gold. 
But something warm and fresh will s'art 
About the region of my heart. " 

Wordsworth is another of the few English poets who have 
deigned to sing the beauties of the 

" Buttercup."! that will be seen, 
Whether we will see or no." 

In former times the round bulbous root of these flowers 
procured them the name of " St. Anthony's turnips." 



ACCORDING to some authors, these bright little flowers, 

" Come before the swallow dares, 
And take the winds of March with beauty," 

derive their name from a Greek word signifying thread, from 
the fact of the thread or filament being in such request for 
saffron dye ; but the ancient legend affirms that it was styled 
Crocus after an unhappy lover, whom the gods in pity changed 
into the flower that now bears his name. There has been 
much controversy as to the first introduction of this plant into 
England, but it is generally supposed that Sir Thomas Smith, 
who brought it with him from the continent in Edward III.'s 
reign, was its earliest importer, and that Saffron Walden, in 
Cambridgeshire, was the place where it was first cultivated. 

In Hakluyt's voyages, the first introduction of saftron — the 
autumn crocus — is ascribed to a pilgrim who, with the desire 
of serving his country, stole a head of saff"ron, and concealed 
it in his staff"; but this is spoken of only as a tradition told 
by the folks at Saffron Walden. It is stated that the cor- 
poration of Walden bear three saffron plants in their coat of 

The golden dye obtained from the pistils of this flower in 
former times was held in great regard by the Irish peasantry, 
and became at last quite an emblem of their oppressed nation- 
ality : as such the colour was very obnoxious to the English 
Government, and, finally, they passed laws against its use. 
One of these injunctions, issued in the reign of Henry VIII., 
prohibited the colouring of the long lock of hair called glibbes 
with saffron dye. 

io8 Crocus. 

It has been observed of the rich tint obtained from this 
plant that there is nothing analogous to it in nature excepting 
the hue of morn : 

" How when the rosy mom begins to rise. 
And wave her saffron streamers through the sties.'' 

Saffron was formerly much used in medicines, but modern 
discovery has enabled us to dismiss it from our pharmacopseia, 
as also from the laboratory of the manufacturer's chemist, 
more permanent dyes having supplied its place. It still, how- 
ever, retains its post at the confectioner's, where its use must 
have been well known as long ago as Shakspeare's days, since 
we find the clown in the " Winter's Tale," when enumerating 
the articles he has for sale, speaks of "saffron to colour the 
warden pies." 

Virgil alludes to the fondness of bees for "the glov/ing 
crocus," as also does Moore — to pass to modern times — in his 

"The busiest hive 

On Bela's hills is less alive, 

When saffron-beds are full in flower, 

Tlian look'd the valley in that houi.'' 

Mrs. Ilowitt says of the purple crocus : 

" Like lilac flame its colour glows, 

Tender and yet so clearly brighr. 
That all for miles and miles about 
The splendid meadow shineth out; 
And far-off village children shout 

To see the welcome sight. " 

Miss Pratt, in one of her floral works, remarks upon the 
abundance of the purple variety of this flower in the vicinity 
of Nottingham : " There the lands which it adorns are like 
radiant spots, compared with which the other meadows seem 
almost colourless. Its full-blown cups stand open to invite 
the spring butterfly to his regale, or the diligent bee to add to 
the store which he is gathering for others. Not one little up- 
land or dell of these meadows but is covered with the daisy 
and the crocus. Every hedge violet that there expands seems 
of a darker hue by its contrast ; and never does cowshp or 
primrose better merit its long-worn epithet of pale than when 
either the sunny or blue crocus stands beside it." 

Crocus. 109 

In Greece this same floral belle grows in great profusion, 
covering the hill-sides with one beaming sheet of blue or gold, 
often colouring the landscape for many miles. 

Saffron is still highly valued by Eastern nations, and by 
them is used for manifold purposes. Letters of invitation to 
the gorgeous nuptial or other entertainments in which rich 
Orientals delight, are written upon paper flowered with gold 
and sprinkled with safiron. They also extract a very beautiful 
yellow from the crocus, which they use for the purpose of dye- 
ing. In the more unsophisticated villages of Greece, saffron 
is sold by the weight of a hen's egg, and so simple are these 
dealings that it makes no difference in the terms whether the 
egg be large or small — so travellers report. 

The following lines allude to the phenomena of the different 
times of flowering invariably observed by the vernal and au- 
tumnal crocus : 

"Say what impels, amid surrounding snow 
Congeal'd, the crocus' flaming bud to glow ? 
Say, what retards, amidst the Summers blaze, 
Th' Autumnal bulb, till pale, declining days? 

"The God of Seasons, whose pervading power 
Controls the sun or sheds the fleecy shower : 
He bids each flow'r His quick'ning word obey. 
Or to each lingering bloom enjoins decay." 



DEEMED by professors of the language of flowers em- 
blematical of that indescribable something which, for 
want of a better name, we agree to call Poetry, the Eglantine 
should indeed find favour with the votaries of that gentle 
art ; and, might we reckon the value of their esteem for it by 
the number of sweet things they have said about it, we could 
put a high price upon its beauties. What wooer of the Muses 
has neglected to pay his passing tribute to the sweet-leaved 
eglantine? — "the rain-scented eglantine;" "the sweet, the 
fresh, the fair," — the eglantine to which the sun himself pays 
homage, by " counting his dewy rosary " on it every morning. 

This flower is indeed emphatically the poet's flower, and in 
the floral games was the prize awarded him for his success. 
Ronsard, whom the elder DTsraeli styles the French Chaucer, 
was the first who carried off" this well-earned booty. " The 
meed of poetic honour," says the above-quoted authority, "was 
an eglantine composed of silver. The reward did not appear 
equal to the merit of the work and the reputation of the poet ; 
and on this occasion the city of Toulouse had a Minerva of 
solid silver struck of considerable value. This image was sent 
to Ronsard, accompanied by a decree in which he was declared, 
by way of eminence, ' The French Poet.' " 

As a pendant to this fact, so honourable to all concerned, 
D'Israeli relates that when " at a later period, a similar Mi- 
nerva was adjudged to Maynard for his verses, the capitouls of 
Toulouse, who were the executors of the floral gifts, to their 
eternal shame, out of covetousness, never obeyed the decision 
of the poetical judges." This circumstance is noticed by 
Maynard in an epigram which bears this title : " Ona Minerva 
of silver, promised but not given" 

Eglantine. hi 

The honeysuckle, or woodbine, symbolic of generous atid 
devoted affection, is frequently mistaken even by the poets 
themselves — to their shame be it said — for the eglantine, or 
sweetbriar, as it is sometimes called : even Milton appears to 
fall into this error when he speaks of " the twisted eglantine." 
Where the English Homer nods, it is not to be wondered at 
if lesser mortals, headed by Scott, the Wizard of the North, 
prove less wakeful ; and so we have to turn to Shakspeare, the 
tighter of all wrongs, to put us right anew. He tells us : 

" I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows. 
Where oxllp and the nodding violet grows ; 
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine. 
With sweet musk roses, and with eglantine." 

An almost forgotten friend and contemporary of the great 
dramatist, and a very sweet poet withal, Richard Barnfield by 
name, puts this dainty invitation into the mouth of the " Love- 
lorn Shepherdess": 

" And in the sweltering heat of Summer-time, 
I would make cabinets for thee, my love ; 
Sweet-smelling arbours made of eglantine, 

Should be thy shrine, and I would be thy dove." 

As the lily is usually coupled with the rose, or the myrtle 
with the bay, so is the woodbine ofttimes mingled with the 
eglantine in poetic invocations ; and thus does Shenstone 
make particular mention of this fragrant pair : 

" Come, gentle air! and while the thickets bloom. 
Convey the jasmine's breath divine. 
Convey the woodbine's rich perfume, 
Nor spare the sweet-leafed eglantine." 

And then Keats — " Lamented Adonais " — says : 

" Its sides 1 '11 plant with dew-sweet eglantine, 
And honeysuckles full of clear bee wine." 

Chaucer, in " The Flower and the Leaf, " describes a plea- 
sant arbour formed of eglantine ; whilst one of the sweetest 
stanzas in the " Faerie Queene " gave Spenser an opportunity 
of portraying " the fragrant eglantine." 



THIS flower, sweet as its florigraphical meaning, received 
its usual name of Heliotrope from two Greek words, 
signifying the sun and to turn, because of its having been sup- 
posed to turn continually towards the sun, following his course 
round the horizon. In consequence of this belief, the ancients 
ascribed its origin to the death of the hapless Clytie, who 
pined away in hopeless love of the sun-god Apollo. Ovid — 
as translated by Sandy — tells the woful story thus : 

"She with distracted passion pines away; 
Detesteth company ; all night, all day 
Disrobed, with her ruffled hair unbound, 
And wet with humour, sits upon the ground : 
For nine long days all sustenance forbears ; 
Her hunger cloyed with dew, her thirst with tears : 
Nor rose ; but rivets on the god her eyes. 
And ever turns her face to him that flies. 
At length to earth her stupid body cleaves ; 
Her wan complexion turns to bloodless leaves. 
Yet streak'd with red, her perish'd limbs beget 
A flower resembling the pale violet. 
Which with the sun, though rooted fast, doth move, 
And being changed, changeth not her love. " 

The tale may have been told with more poetical adornments 
than the old translator has given it, but as the incident and 
the moral is what is required, that may be overlooked for once. 

The Peruvian heliotrope is chiefly admired for its unsur- 
passed fragrance. Although not a showy plant, it is delicate 
and sweet as the sentiment it interprets. The blossom is very 
small, of a faint purple colour, sometimes inclining to white, 
and sheds an almond-hke perfume, or, as some prosaic persons 
say, an odour like that of a cherry pie ! This species was 
discovered by Jussieu, the celebrated botanist, whilst bota- 
nizing in the Cordilleras. One day when gathering plants, he 
suddenly found himself overpowered by an intense perfume. 
Looking round to see from what gorgeous child of Flora this 

Helio trope. t 1 3 

odour proceeded, he could discover nothing but some light 
green shrubs, the tips of whose elegant sprays were decked 
with faint purple blossom. Finding on inspection that all 
these tiny florets turned towards the sun, Jussieu gave the 
plant the name of Heliotrope, and collecting some of the seeds, 
forwarded them to the royal garden at Paris, where in 1740 
the heliotrope was first cultivated. It spread into all the coun- 
tries of Europe, and from its delicious scent soon became an 
especial favourite with the ladies. 

St. Pierre, in his exquisite " Studies of Nature," speaking of 
this plant, says : " The Chysantheinum Peruvianum — or, to 
employ a better-known term, the Turnsol — which turns con- 
tinually towards the sun, covers itself, like Peru, the country 
from which it comes, with dewy clouds, which cool and refresh 
its flowers during the most violent heat of the day." 

To the Canary heliotrope florists gave the name of "Ma- 
dame de Maintenon," in flattery, it is supposed, to Louis XIV., 
as the sun to which his favourite lady always turned her eyes. 

Is it not this flower that Moore is thinking of when he so 
fancifully says 

" She, enamoured of the sun, 
At his departure hangs her head and weeps. 
And shrouds her sweetness up, and keeps 

Sad vigils like a cloister'd nun, 
Till his reviving ray appears, 
Waking her beauty as he dries her tears "? i 

An anonymous poet has deduced from this flower a meaning 
which, though given here, is quite the reverse of that assigned 
to it by florigraphists : 

" There is a flower, whose modest eye "I^t clouds obscure, or darkness veil, 
Is turned with looks of light and love ; Her fond idolatry is fled ; 
Who breathes her sweetest, softest sigh, Her sighs no more their sweets exhales 
Whene'er the sun is bright above. The loving eye is cold anii 4ead. 

" Canst thou not trace a moral here. 

False flatterer of the prosperous hour ? 
Let but an adverse cloud appear, 

And thou art faithless as the flower." 

L I T. A C . 


THIS attractive and yet unobtrusive flower is well worthy 
of being selected to emblernise love's first emotions. 
Bursting into a profusion of fragrant bouquet-shaped blossoms 
just at that delightful season of the year when all nature, 
aroused from its long wintry slumber, decks itself with smiles 
and blushes, the Lilac could scarcely escape being chosen 
by the observant eyes of poet and lover as a symbol of those 
indescribable feelings of joy which bloom into being when 
" Love's young dream " first bashfully manifests itself. 

It is alleged that when Van Spaendoul, the celebrated Dutch 
flower painter, was shown a group of lilacs, he flung down his 
pencil, as if acknowledging his inability to portray a produc- 
tion in every respect so harmonious and unapproachable. 

Of the three varieties of this shrub, the blue, the violet, and 
the white have been thus prettily described : " Nature seems 
to have delighted in making a finished production of each of 
their delicate clusters, massive in themselves, and yet asto- 
nishing by their variety and beauty. The gradation of their 
tints, from the first purplish bud to the blanching flower, is 
the smallest fascination of their charming blossoms, round 
which the rainbow seems to revel and to dissolve into a hun- 
dred shades and colours, which, commingling in the general 
tone and hue, produce a happy harmony that might well 
baffle the painter and confound the observer." 

Lilac, or lilag — a Persian word signifying "flower" — is sup- 
posed to have been introduced into Europe from Persia early 
in the sixteenth century by Busbeck, a German traveller. 

In 1597, Gerarde says, " I have them growing in my garden 
in great plenty." 

Mrs. Sigourney, in allusion to its native land, addresses it : 

Lilac. 115 

"Lilac of Persia ! Tell us some fine tale 
Of Eastern lands ; we 're fond of travellers. 
Have you no legends of some sultan proud. 
Or old fire-worshipper ? What ! not one note 
Made on your voyage ? Well, 't is wondrous strange 
That you should let so rare a chance pass by, 
While those who never journeyed half so far 
Fill sundry volumes, and expect the world 
To reverently peruse and magnify 
What it well knew before ! " 

Thomson, in his " Seasons," could not of course overlook 
this flower, and in " Spring," thus tunes his lyre to hymn its 
praise : 

" Shrubs there are, 
. . . That at the call of Spring 
Burst forth in blossom'd fragrance ; lilacs, robed 
In snow-white innocence or purple pride. " 

When the lilac-blossom has attained its maturity it begins 
to gradually change colour, until at last it becomes of a red 
hue ; and this afforded Cowper an opportunity of terming 
them sanguine : 

" The lilac, various in array — ^now white, 
Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set 
With purple spikes pyramidal ; as if. 
Studious of ornament, yet unresolved 
Which hues she most approves, she chose them aU." 

So sweet a blossom is the lilac, and so sweet are the emo- 
tions it represents, that every one must concede that it is one of 
those lovely and beloved plants which unite the qualities Gothe 
ascribes to some flowers, of being beautiful only to the eye, 
and others only to the heart. 

From the purity of its colour and the short duration of its 
lovely clusters of blossoms, white lilac has been made the 
emblem oi youth. 





THIS superb emblem of magnificence wzs named Magnolia 
by Plumier, in honour of Pierre Magnol, a well-known 
writer on botanical subjects. It is a native of the Southern 
States of North America. In its native country it begins to 
blossom in May, and continues a long time in flower, per- 
fuming the woods during the whole of the summer months. 
Kalen says that he seldom found the magnolia north of Penn- 
sylvania. " They may be discovered," he adds, " by the scent 
of the blossoms at the distance of three-quarters of a mile if 
the wind be favourable. It is beyond description pleasant to 
travel in the woods at that season, especially in the evening. 
They retain their flowers three weeks. The berries, also, look 
very handsome when they are ripe, being of a rich red colour, 
and hanging in bunches on slender threads." 

Dillenius says the flowers of this tree never open in the 
morning, and that their scent resembles that of the lily of the 
valley, with an aromatic mixture. 

Loudon tells a most interesting story of a Magnolia grandi- 
flora, which in 1732 was brought by a French naval officer from 
the banks of the Mississippi, and planted at Maillardi^re, 
about five miles from Nantes. This officer died, and his heirs, 
not caring for a tree that had as yet produced nothing, for 
nearly thirty years allowed it to remain unnoticed. In 1758, 
however, M. Bonami, a botanist, discovered it, recognized the 
species, and in 1760, at the meeting of the States of Bretagne 
at Nantes, he presented the Princess de Rohan-Chabet with a 
branch of this magnolia in full blossom : it at once became 
the object of interest and conversation amongst all there. 
At last, Louis XV. hearing of the magnificence of the tree, 

Magnolia. 117 

had it transported to Paris, where it still exists, full of years 
and honours ; not, however, without having had many narrow 
escapes from total destruction by fire, sword, and other dan- 
gerous enemies. Although upwards of a hundred years old, it 
produces annually somewhere about four hundred large, ele- 
gant, and sweet-scented flowers. 

In China and Japan the magnolia is highly valued ; and in 
the former country they are most carefully cultivated in the 
gardens of the emperor and by all those who can afford them. 
A magnolia in flower is considered a handsome gift for the 
emperor, even from the governor of a province. 

So powerful is the fragrance of this flower that, it is said, a 
single blossom of it placed in a bed-room suffices to cause 
death, even in one night. English poets are not sufficiently 
familiar with the magnolia to pay it that homage which its 
loveliness deserves. In Tighe's poem of " The Rose," the poet, 
in exalting the beauty of that Queen of Flowers, says 

" Less-prized gardenia drops her lucid bells, 
And rich magnolias close their purple globes." 

And Wordsworth alludes thus to this flower : 

"He spoke of plants divine and strange, "He told of the magnolia, spread 
That every hour their blossoms change High as a cloud, high overhead ; 

Ten thousand lovely hues ! The cypress and her spire ; 

With budding, fading, faded flowers. Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam 
They stand the wonder of the bowers Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 

From mom to evening dews. To set the hills on fire. " 

Chateaubriand, in his romance of " Atala," referring to an 
Indian superstition which supposes that the souls of departed 
infants enter into flowers, thus introduces this lovely bloom : 
" I gathered a magnolia-blossom, and placed it, yet moist 
with dew, upon the head of Atala, who still slept. I hoped 
that, according to my religion, the soul of some new-born 
infant would descend on the crystal dew of this flower, and 
that a prosperous dream would convey it to the bosom of my 

Judas Flower. 


THE botanical name of the Judas-tree is from the Greek, 
and signifies a little sheath ; but the more ominous title, 
by which it is known to the EngHsh, Germans, and French, is 
derived from the supposition that Judas hanged himself upon 
it, although Gerarde and other ancient writers on sylvan sub- 
jects assign that ghastly association to the elder. 

In one portion of the wild Arabian epic of " Antar," one of 
its heroes, named Shedad, is compared to the flower of the 
Judas-tree, "so completely was he smeared with the blood of 
the combatants." 

The blossoms of the European variety of this tree are of a 
very beautiful bright purple, and come out in spring in large 
clusters on every side of the branches, and often of the stem, 
and are in full blow before the leaves have attained half their 
size. The North American Judas-tree is called " red-bud tree," 
from the red flower buds appearing in the spring before the 

On account of the beauty of its flowers, the Spaniards call 
this plant " the tree of love," and certainly that designation 
accords well with the exquisitely pathetic legend of "The 
Wayside Inn," with which the late Adelaide Procter, Barry 
Cornwall's gifted daughter, has enwoven it : 

"A little past the village 

The inn stood, low and white ; 
Green shady trees behind it, 

And an orchard on the right, 
Where over the green paling 

The red-cheeked apples hung, 
As if to watch how wearily 

The sign-board creaked and swung. 

"The heavy-laden branches 

Over the road hung low, 
Reflected fruit or blossom 

From the wayside well below. 
Where children, drawing water, 

Looked up and paused to see. 
Amid the apple-branches, 

A purple Judas-tree. " 

Here at this quiet wayside inn lived little Maurice, whose 

Judas Flower. 


occupation was to aid passing travellers, to " loose the bridle, 
and tend the weary steed." One bright May day, the sun- 
burnt boy beheld 

"A train of horsemen, nobler 

Than he had seen before ; 
They from the distance galloped, 

And halted at the door. 
Upon a milk-white pony. 

Fit for a faery queen, 
Was the loveliest little damsel 

His eyes had ever seen. 
* * * * ^ 

"Her sunny ringlets round her 

A golden cloud had made, 
"While her large hat was keeping 

Her calm blue eyes in shade ; 
One hand held fast the silken reins 

To keep her steed in check ; 
The other pulled his tangled mane. 

Or stroked his glossy neck. 

"And as the boy brought water, 

And loosed the rein, he heard 
The sweetest voice, that thanked him 

In one low, gentle word ; 
She turned her blue eyes from him. 

Looked up, and smiled to see 
The hanging purple blossoms 

Upon the Judas-tree ; 

"And showed it with a gesture. 

Half pleading, half command, 
Till he broke the fairest blossom. 

And laid it in her hand ; 
And she tied it to her saddle 

With a ribbon from her hair. 
While her happy laugh rang gaily 

Like silver on the air." 

But the steeds and the riders were rested, and moved on 
down the dusty highway and vanished. Many years passed 
away, but the little milk-white pony and the child returned no 
more. " Many summers had fled, and the spreading apple- 
branches a deeper shadow shed," when the news of a lordly 
wedding was borne on the western breeze. Amongst the eager 
watchers to see the bridal train pass by, once more stands 
Maurice : 

"They come, the cloud of dust draws near; 

'Mid all the state and pride, 
H: only sees the golden hair 

And blue eyes of the bride. 
Her shy and smiling eyes looked round, 

Unconscious of the place. 
Unconscious of the eager gaze 

He fixed upon her face. 

'He plucked a blossom from the tree — 

The Judas-tree — and cast 
Its purple fragrance towards the bride, 

A message from the Past. 
The signal came, the horses plunged ; 

Once more she smiled around ; 
The purple blossom in the dust 

Lay trampled on the ground." 

Again the slow years fleeted away, and one winter morning 
once more Maurice beheld the lady pass by ; but grief had 
wrought its sign upon her and had dimmed the glory of her 
bright blue eyes, 

" That watched with the absent spirit 
That looks, yet does not see 
The dead and leafless branches 
Upon the Judas-tree." 


Judas Flower. 

"The slow dark months crept onward 
Upon their icy way, 
Till April broke in showers, 

And Spring smiled forth in May ; 
Upon the apple-blossoms 

The sun shone bright again. 
When slowly up the highway 
Came a long funeral train. 
* * * * * 

"Now laid upon the coffin 

With a purple flower, might bt. 
Told to the cold dead sleeper; 

The rest could only see 
A fragrant purple blossom. 
Plucked from a Judas-tiee." 

"'Mid all that homage given 

To a fluttering heart at rest. 
Perhaps an honest sorrow 

Dwelt only in one breast : 
The boyish silent homage, 

To child and bride unknown; 
The pitying tender sorrow 

Kept in bis heart alone ; 




OW often you may have passed by this common wild 
flower, the Dandelion, as a plant possessing little attrac- 
tion ! And yet, not only is it extremely useful for manifold 
culinary and medicinal purposes, but, under its presumed ora- 
cular character, many a little beating heart has it caused to 
throb yet more merrily, or more wearily heave ; many a bright 
eye has it made to gleam brighter with anticipated triumph, or 
dim with foreboding tears ; for this golden-rayed blossom, like 
some others of its floral sisterhood, is often selected to decide 
its fair questioner's fate : " He loves me," or, " He loves me 
not." Alas ! what histories of joy or misery may the answers 
to those simple questions betoken ! 

Not only, however, do the responses of this oracle foreshadow 
the fate of our heart's affection, but to the schoolboy who, bred 
up amid the secrets of Nature, often tries 

"To win the secret of a weed's plain heart," 

the dandelion frequently serves to tell another tale: gently 
plucking it from its hollow stem, he blows softly upon its fea- 
thery coronet, and away flies the ethereal spray. "One o'clock ! " 
he shouts, and then gives another puff at his floral timepiece, 
and off careers another fleecy cloud : " Two o'clock ! " he cries, 
and again repeats the experiment, until not a single tiny plume 
is left on the poor bald-headed flower ; as many puffs as it 
takes to scatter the down, so many hours of the day, say the 
little rustics, have fleeted by. They can scarcely think, these 
lads and lasses, that they are aiding the operations of Nature 
by thus dispersing, attached to that light and pretty spray, the 
flower's seed. William Howitt thus charmingly alludes to tlie 
custom : 

122 Dandelion. 

"Dandelion, with globe of down, 
The schoolboy's clock in every town, 
Which the truant puffs amain, 
To conjure lost hours back again." 

Not only does it rest its claim to be considered an oracle 
upon these prophetic utterances, but also upon the fact that as 
its blossoms open and close at certain regular hours, it serves 
the solitary shepherd as a clock, and as a barometer, by pre- 
dicting, by means of its feathery tufts, calm or stormy weather. 
Well, indeed, might Allan Cunningham exclaim : 

"There is a lesson in each flower, 
A story in each stream and bower ; 
In every herb on which you tread 
Are written words, which, rightly read, 
Will lead you from earth's fragrant soil. 
To hope, and holiness, and God !" 

Or, as Charlotte Smith hath said, 

" Thus in each flower and simple bell 
That in our path betrodden lie 
Are sweet remembrancers, who tell 
How fast the winged moments fly. '' 

This flower is supposed to have derived its name from the 
deeply notched edges of its leaves, they having been thought 
to resemble the teeth of a lion, for which reason it was called 
"lion-toothed," or "dent de lion." 

Darwin, in his so strangely neglected " Loves of the Plants," 
speaks of the methodical habits of the dandelion under its 
classical name : 

" Ijcontodons unfold 
On the swart turf their ray-encircled gold ; 
With Sol's expanding beam the flowers unclose, 
And rising Hcsper lights Iheni to repose." 




ALTHOUGH the genus of CampaniilacecB, or bell-flowers, 
is deemed emblematic of constancy, each of the well- 
known members of the graceful family has its own particular 
meaning. The Canterbury Bell, so styled because of its pro- 
fusion in the neighbourhood of that city, is one of the most 
known of the race. It was formerly called " Farfre-in-sight," 
and florigraphists have variously considered it as the symbol 
of both gratitude and constattcy. Its deep purple bells are 
generally very large ; but there is a kind bearing bells of lesser 
size, and coloured blue, purple, or white. These pretty flowers 
look as if they were especially formed for the use of those 
fairy elves who formerly haunted our woodlands and meadows 
with their little figures. What a slight stretch of fancy is 
needed to imagine that these tiny trembling bells oft ring their 
mad merry peals for the benefit of such elves as lurk " under 
the blossom that hangs on the bough," and who, like their 
human brethren, "use flowers for their charactery!" 

A great favourite in this much-admired floral fraternity is 
the Vemis's Looking-glass, selected as the type of flattery. 
The mirrors of the ancients were always circular in form, and 
this plant is said to have received its popular cognomen from 
the resemblance of its round-shaped blossom to the form of a 
mirror, and being considered extremely pretty, it was appro- 
priated to the Goddess of Beauty. The classics, however, tell 
a different tale, and relate that Venus one day dropped one 
of her mirrors, which possessed the quality of beautifying 
whatever it reflected. A shepherd picked it up ; but no sooner 
had he gazed upon it than he forgot his favourite nymph and 
everything else he should have recollected, and, like another 
Narcissus, did nothing but admire his own charms. Cupid 

1 24 Campanula. 

discovered how affairs stood, and, fearful of the trouble that 
might arise from such a silly error, broke the mirror and trans- 
formed the fragments into this bright plant, which has ever 
since been called Venus's Looking-glass. 

There is a very pretty campanula with delicate lilac-hued 
flowers, that hang like bells from the stalk. It is called by the 
French " Nun of the Fields," probably in remembrance of some 
tender legend of the olden time ; to us it is known as Agrimony., 
and has been adopted by floral linguists as the type of thank- 
fulness, a feeling which every one must experience, not only 
when gazing upon this suggestive " floral apostle," but when 

° S / " Floral bough that swingeth, 

And tolls its perfume on the passing air;" 

for, indeed, O ye flowers ! although your lips are voiceless to 

the ear, yet to the heart ye 

"Are living preachers ; 
Each cup a pulpit, every leaf a book ; 
Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers 
From loneliest nook. " 

The delicate Harebell, the favourite of our poets and the 
rival of the heather in the strong love of old Scotia, belongs 
to this timorous group of flowers, and, on account of its tender 
blossoms and slender, fragile-looking stem, has been made the 
emblem of love's frailty. Its azure bell hangs lightly upon its 
shivering stalk and " rings to the mosses underneath." With 
a mien so frail, one dreads every moment to behold its beauties 
rent to pieces and destroyed by the rude wind ; and yet, so 
marvellously is this little floral elf constructed, that it will often 
successfully brave the battle of the rough elements and outlast 
the ruffian breeze that lays the monster oak of a thousand 
years shattered upon the soil. 

This is the dewy bluebell which Eliza Cook tells us is filled 
with " chaliced fragrance," and with which a thousand poets 
have linked their imperishable fame. 

These lines, by the last-named lady, to "Bluebells in the 
Shade," require no introduction to our audience : 

"The choicest buds in Flora's train let other fingers twfine; 
Let others snatch the damask rose, or wreathe the eglantine ; 
I 'd leave the sunshine and parterre, and seek the woodland glads^ 
To stretch me on the fragrant bed of bluebells in the shade. 



'Let others cull the daffodil, the lily soft and fair, 
And deem the tulip's gaudy cup most beautiful and rare ; 
But give to me, oh, give to me, the coronal that 's made 
Of ruby orchids mingled vnth the bluebells from the shade. 

' The sunflower and the peony, the poppy bright and gay. 
Have no alluring charms for me : I 'd fling them all away. 
Exotic bloom may fill the vase, or grace the high-bom maid ; 
But sweeler far to me thaa all are bluebells in the shade." 

Eliza Cook. 



THE Oriental or garden Hyacinth is a native of the Levant 
Culture has produced several large and splendid double 
varieties of these flo-.vers ; their elegantly shaped bell blossoms, 
towering one above another upon graceful stems, in almost 
unrivalled redolence and in nearly every hue of the rainbow, 
present a glorious spectacle. Sweet-voiced Shelley plaintively 

SmgS OI i< 'Y^^^ hyacinth, purple, and white, and blue. 

Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew 
Of music, so delicate, soft, and intense, 
It was felt like an odour within the sense." 

According to the mythologists, this fairy-like fragile flower 
had its orgin in the death of Hyacinthus, a Laconian youth, 
greatly favoured by Apollo, and much admired for his beauty. 
He fell a victim to the jealous rage of Zephyrus, who, in re- 
venge for the preference manifested for him by the Sun-god, 
had determined to effect his destruction. Accordingly, one day 
when the ill-fated youth was playing at quoits with his divine 
friend, Zephyrus blew so powerfully upon the iron flung by 
Apollo that it struck the unfortunate Hyacinthus on the temple 
and killed him, to the intense grief of his innocent slayer. To 
commemorate the grace and beauty of the poor young prince, 
for such he was, Apollo, unable to restore him to life, caused 
the flower which now bears his name to spring from his blood. 
Thus it was that the hyacinth, so celebrated in the songs of 
the poets from the days of Homer downwards, became the 
floral hieroglyph of play, although one would certainly have 
thought that a more sober meaning could have been awarded 
to a bloom reputed to have had so melancholy an origin, and 
ivhich still bears imprinted in indelible characters upon its 
bosom poor Hyacinthus' last cry of "Ai! at!" 

An annual solemnity, called Hyacinthia, was established in 
Laconia in honour of Hyacinthus. It lasted three days, during 
which the people, to show their grief for the loss of their darling 

Hyacinth. 127 

prince, ate no bread, but fed upon sweetmeats, and abstained 
from adorning their hair with garlands as on ordinary occasions. 

On the second day a band of youths entertained the spec- 
tators by playing upon the harp, upon the flute, and chanting 
grand choruses in honour of Apollo. Numbers came mounted 
upon horses richly caparisoned, singing rustic songs, and ac- 
companied by a throng, who danced to vocal and instrumental 
music ; maidens, selected for their beauty, splendidly attired, 
appeared in covered carriages, most magnificently adorned, 
singing hymns ; whilst the others were engaged in chariot 
races. An immense number of victims were offered on the 
altars of Apollo ; and their slaves, as well as their friends, were 
entertained with the utmost liberality by the votaries. 

This flower is justly the pride of the Dutch florists, who gain 
immense annual profits from its culture, although during the 
last few years it has somewhat lost ground in public favour, by 
reason of the many tropical plants that have been introduced 
into owx flora domestica. The credit of having reared the first 
double hyacinth is given to Peter Voerhelm, a celebrated florist 
of Haarlem. It is stated that he was accustomed to throw 
away as imperfect all the double blossoms, until a fit of illness 
prevented him from visiting his bulbs for some days ; on re- 
newing his floral duties, a double flower that had escaped 
destruction attracted his attention. He determined to culti- 
vate it ; and well it repaid him his care. Florists and customers 
came, saw, and purchased ; but, by some strange vicissitude, this 
first double hacyinth, named " Mary," and the two next varie- 
ties that were produced, have been lost. For one bulb which 
he had raised he is said to have obtained ;£'ioo. This flower, 
which he christened " The King of Great Britain," is now con- 
sidered the originator of the oldest double variety in existence. 

The common or, as old botanists style it, the English hya- 
cinth, is frequently termed the Harebell by poetical writers. 
Browne, author of " Britannia's Pastorals," in his list of " Floral 
Emblems," observes that 

"The harebell, for her stainless azured hue, 
Claims to be worn of none but those are true. " 

The harebell is sometimes white or flesh-coloured, but much 
more commonly blue or violet-hued. 

Under its general appellation of the hyacinth, this flower has 

128 Hyacinth. 

received a countless number of poetical tributes ; but its right 
to retain them is strongly disputed now-a-days, several writers 
maintaining that they were intended for another flower alto- 
gether, the red Martagon lily being now supposed rightfully 
entitled to the homage paid by ancient authors to the bloom 
that sprang from the blood of Hyacinthus, from the fact that 
its petals bear the distinguishing mark of ai, ai, and that it is 
of a deep blood-coloured hue. 

The authoress of " Flora Domestica " enters warmly into 
the contest, and certainly makes out a very good case on be- 
half of her selected flower. After citing a large number of 
poetical witnesses, she winds up her debate by saying; " There 
have been great disputes and differences about the hyacinth : 
all were agreed that our modern hj'acinth was not the hyacinth 
of the ancients ; but the difficulty was to determine what was" 
And our authority then concludes by deciding that " the best 
arguments have been urged in support of the Martagon lily, 
which is ru3w pretty generally acknowledged to be the true 
heir to this ancient and illustrious race." 

The following tragic, if true, story was related some time 
since of the effect said to be produced by the powerful per- 
fume of the hyacinth : 

M. Sam relates that he was standing at a ball given at the 
Tuileries, talking to the great chemist, Dr. Lisfranc, when he 
perceived him become pale and move from his position. M. 
Sam, fancying that his friend had been taken ill, followed him 
out to the salle des marechaux. There having recovered his 
equanimity, he said, ' I have just seen a beautiful young bride 
waltzing with her second husband. Now, I am perfectly con- 
vinced she murdered her first husband. It had been a love 
match ; but the young man discovered that he had made a fatal 
mistake, and his health visibly declined. One morning he was 
found dead in his bed-room, which his wife had filled with hya- 
cinths : their poisonous emanations had evidently killed him. 
On being summoned to examine into the cause of his death, 
I perfectly remembered having related in his wife's hearing a 
case of poisoning produced by those very flowers, and on 
learning that a scandalous intrigue on her part had been the 
cause of his misery, I have not the slightest doubt that the 
wretched woman adopted this mode of regaining her liberty.' " 



' She droops and mourns, 
Bedew'd, as 'twere, with tears. ' 

George 'Withers. 

THE classic name for this flower is Calendula, which some 
writers translate into the " flower of all the months ; " 
a title given to it, they add, in consequence of its blossoming 
the whole year — a statement scarcely borne out by facts so far 
as England is concerned. By old English poets these plants 
are called " golds ; " the name of the Virgin Mary was a very 
frequent addition in the middle ages to anything useful or 
beautiful, and so in course of time this flower became known 
as the marygold. In Provence they call it gauche fer (left-hand 
iron), probably from its round, brilliant disc, suggestive of a 
shield, which is worn on the left arm. 

Why so dazzling a bloom should have become the emblem 
of grief it is difficult to say, but in many lands it is regarded 
as such. Although alone, however, the marygold expresses 
grief, by a judicious admixture with other flowers its meaning 
may be greatly varied. For instance, combined with roses it 
is symbolic of " the bitter sweets and pleasant pains of love ; " 
whilst amongst Eastern nations a bouquet of marygolds and 
poppies signifies " I will allay your pain." Associated with 
cypress, the emblem of death, marygolds betoken despair. 

Linnseus has remarked that the marygold is usually open 
from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon ; this fore- 
shows a continuance of dry weather : should the blossom 
remain closed, rain may be expected. This circumstance, and 
the fact of its always turning its golden face towards the giver 
of day, has caused this plant to be sometimes termed " the 
sun follower," and the " spouse of the sun." 


130 Marygold. 

Chatterton, alluding to its having given in its adherence to 
the early closing movement, calls it 

"The Marybudde, that shutteth with the light." 

And Browne, in his " Britannia's Pastorals," says : 

"But, maiden, see, the day is waxen olde. 
And 'gins to shut in with the marygolde." 

Whilst ever-watchful Shakspeare remarks in " Cymbeline," 
that when " Phoebus 'gins arise," the " winking marybuds 
begin to ope their golden eyes." 

Another noteworthy property of this flower is that it lasts 
out all its floral compeers, and continues blooming until 
stopped by the frost. In her " Farewell to the Flowers in 
Autumn," Mrs. Sigourney acknowledges this virtue of the 
neglected plant : 

" Coarse maiygold, in days of yore I scorned thy tawny face, 
But since my plants are frail and few, I 've given thee welcome place. " 

Keats pays more heed to the natural attractions of this 
flower, and sings : 

" Open afresh your round of starry folds. 
Ye ardent maiygolds ! 
Dry up the moisture of your golden lids. 
For great Apollo bids 

That in these days your praises shall he sung 
On many harps, which he has lately strung; 
And then again your dewiness he kisses — 
Tell him I have you in my world of blisses : 
So haply when I rove in some far vale, 
' His mighty voice may come upon the gale." 

Marguerite of Orleans, the maternal grandmother of Henry 
the Great of France, to express how all her thoughts and 
affections were directed towards Heaven, adopted for her ar- 
morial device a marygold turning towards the sun, with the 
motto, " Je lie veiix suivre que lid suel." 

Chaucer frequently mentions these flowers under their an- 
cient name of " goldes," and, in " The Knight's Tale," bestows 
a garland of them upon Jealousy, yellow being the colour 
deemed emblematical of that passion. 

The marygold is sometimes considered the florigraphical 
sign of prediction, because it is used by our lads and lasses, cis 

Marygold. 131 

is the daisy by those of France, and the aster by those of 
Germany, to determine whether they are beloved or not by the 
object of their thoughts. 

This flower excited more solemn reflections in the mind of 
George Withers, who in his usual quaint manner thus moralizes 
over it : 

" When, with a serious musing, I behold 
The grateful and obsequious marygold. 
How duly every morning she displays 
Her open breast when Phoebus spreads his rays ; 
How she observes him in her daily walk. 
Still bending towards him her small slender stalk ; 
How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns, 
Bedew'd, as 't were, with tears till he returns ; 
And how she veils her flowers when he is gone. 
As if she scom'd to be looked upon 
By an inferior eye, or did contemn 
To wait upon a meaner light than him. 
When this I meditate, methinks the flowers 
Have spirits far more generous than ours. 
And give us fair examples to despise 
The servile fawnings and idolatries 
Wlierewith we court these earthly things below, 
Which merit not the service we bestow." 



"Like a pleasant thought, 
When such are wanted." 


THE Aster, or Starwort, represents an exceedingly nu- 
merous family which derives its name from the Greek 
word aster, signifying star. In the language of flowers it is 
said to be emblematical of after-thought, because it begins to 
blow when other flowers are scarce. " It is like an after- 
thought of Flora's, who smiles at leaving us." 

The different varieties of this flower are very numerous ; 
and, being very showy, of almost every colour, and those 
colours remarkably vivid, they make a brilliant figure in our 
gardens in autumn. 

The general favourite is the China aster, which is larger and 
handsomer than any of the others. Europe is indebted for 
this variety to Father d'lncarville, a Jesuit missionary, who, in 
1730, sent some seeds of it to the royal gardens at Paris. 
This flower is much admired by the Chinese, who make con- 
siderable use of it in the decorations of their gardens, arranging 
it so as to rival the richest patterns of Persian carpets, or the 
most curious figures that can be devised by the artist in filigree. 

The French are fond of this flower, and from the resemblance 
which its blossoms bear in shape, although on a much larger 
scale, to the daisy, call it La Reine Marguerite, or Queen daisy. 

The amellus spoken of by the Greek and Latin poets is 
supposed to belong to the aster tribe : 

" The attic star, so named in Grecian use. 
But call'd amellus by the Mantuan muse," 

says Rapine ; and Virgil, in his fourth " Georgic," says : " We 
have also a floWer in the meadows, which the country people 

Aster. 133 

call 'amellus.' The herb is very easy to be found, for the 
root — which consists of a great bunch of fibres — sends forth a 
vast number of stalks. The flower itself is of a golden colour, 
surrounded by a great number of leaves, which are purple like 
violets. The altars of the gods are often adorned with wreaths 
of these flowers." 

The star-flower, as the Germans call the aster, is employed 
by that people as a village oracle, after the manner described 
under the heading of daisy. Gothe, in his great tragedy of 
" Faust," makes a beautiful use of this superstition. It is in 
the well-known garden scene, where Faust is walking with the 
young and guileless Marguerite — a scene that Retzsch has 
chosen for his wildly-suggestive pencil, and L. E. L. for her 
plaintive pen to reproduce. The poor, lovelost girl gathers a 
flower, and, according to her simple method of divination, 
proceeds to pluck off the florets, alternately repeating the 
words, " He loves me," " he loves me not." On arriving at the 
last leaf, she joyously exclaims, " He loves me ! " and Faust, 
in spite of himself, overpowered by her childish innocence, 
breaks forth, " Yes ! he loves thee : let this floral token be a 
decree of Heaven ! " 

Dr. Zerffi, in his valuable notes to his edition of " Faust," says, 
" It is a general custom for lovers to consult flowers, as a sort 
of oracle, as to whether their love is returned or not. The 
plan adopted is simple enough. A star-flower, which seems 
to be the favourite, is selected, and the person consulting it 
repeats the words 

" ' Er liebt mich von Herzen 
Mit Schmerzmi, 
Ja — oder nein.' 

A single leaf is pulled off at each recurrence of the words ia 
and nein, and the answer of the oracle is yes or no, as ja or 
nein is pronounced on pulling the last of the leaves." 



THERE is a curious perversion of name in the designation 
of this flower, which has nothing to do with " tubes," 
or " roses," and is merely a corruption of its botanical title, 
Polianthes tuberosa, the latter word simply signifying tuberous, 
and the former word, from the Greek, expressing city-flower. 

This glorious floral favourite grows naturally in India, whence 
it was brought into Europe in 1632. Its blossoms were origi- 
nally single ; and a Monsieur le Cour, a celebrated Leyden 
florist, first produced a double variety. He was so tenacious 
of the roots of this flower, that after he had propagated them 
in such plenty as to have more than he could plant, he caused 
them to be cut in pieces, to have the vanity of boasting that 
he was the only person in Europe who possessed specimens of 
them. This device could not, however, long exclude so de- 
sirable an acquisition from the gardens of Europe, and it is 
now common all over the world. 

Its white blossom exhales the most exquisite perfume — a 
perfume, however, it is alleged, so powerful, that to enjoy it 
without danger it is necessary to keep at some distance from 
the plant. 

Shelley, in verses as inexpressibly beautiful as the object 
they celebrate, calls 

"The sweet tuberose, 
The sweetest flower for scent that blows." 

The Malayans style this floral belle, " The Mistress of the 
Night ; " a poetical idea that the Irish Anacreon makes use of 
in his fantastic poem of " Lalla Rookh : " 

"The tuberose, with her silvery light. 

That in the gardens of Malay 
Is called the Mistress of the Night, 
So like a bride, scented and bright, 

She comes out when the sim 's away." 


It has been prettily remarked that we must remember that 
Moore is speaking of the lady's habits when in her native 
country ; in our colder clime she waits for the sunshine before 
expanding her perfumed petals. When worn in the hair by 
a Malayan lady, it informs her lover, in a manner that words 
could never speak half so well, that his suit is pleasing to her. 

An exquisite little y«/ d' esprit by Leigh Hunt, known as the 
" Albanian Love Letter," prettily carries out this idea of 

" Saying all one feels and thinks 
In clever daffodils and pinks ; 
Uttering (as well as silence may) 
The sweetest words the sweetest way." 

It may be found entire under the heading of " Floral Bou- 


" The memorial flower of a princely race." 

THE Broom is a very ornamental shrub, with few leaves, 
but an abundance of brilliant and elegant flowers. 
There are three species with white and one with violet-coloured 
bloom, all the others having yellow blossoms. 

Our common broom surpasses most of the foreign kinds in 
beauty ; indeed, few shrubs are more magnificent than this 
evergreen, with its profusion of bright golden blossoms, me- 
lodious with the murmuring of innumerable bees. Few can 
gaze unmoved upon its splendid wreaths of glittering bloom, 

'Yellow and bright, as bullion mialloy'd." 

It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that our poets have 
clustered round it almost as thickly and as lovingly as the 
bees, or, its beauty being known, that they should have de- 
rived as abundant a supply of sweets from its sweetness as' 
their little musical competitors, who "hunt for the golden dew." 

Many a plaintive tale is associated with the broom ; many 
a lament has been sung of the sad thoughts engendered by 
lingering, loving memories of " the bonny broom," by wan- 
derers far off from their native land. 

The Scotch, ever wakeful to the beauties of their native 
home, have long recognized the poetry of this picturesque 
plant, and in their songs and ballads often chant its praise : 

" O, the broom, the bonny, bonny broom. 
The broom of the Cowden Knows ; 
For sure so soft, so sweet a bloom 
Elsewhere there never grows." 

Burns lauds it, and well he might, for doubtless he had 

Broom. 137 

ofttimes seen it waving high over the headlong torrents of his 
darling Scotia, or spreading a gorgeous golden canopy down 
the sides of his native mountains. Hark to his paan : 

" Their groves of sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon. 
Whose bright beaming summers exalt the perfume ; 
Far dearer to me yon lone glen of green breckan, 
Wi' the bum stealing under the long yellow broom. 

" Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers. 

Where the bluebell and gowan lurk lowly, unseen ^ 
And where, lightly tripping amang the sweet flowers, 
A-listening the linnet, oft wanders my Jean. " 

Although, in floral phraseology, the broom is typical of 
humility, it has, its presumed humbleness notwithstanding, 
had several adventures with royalty. History informs us that 
amid the stormy times of the fourteenth century this wild 
shrub was scarcely less distinguished as a regal flower than the 
royal rose herself. The English sovereign race of Plantagenet 
evidently derived their surname iromgefi4t, the French name of 
this plant ; but there appears a great discrepancy between the 
reasons assigned by different writers as to why the designation 
was first assumed. Skinner says that the House of Anjou 
derived the name of Plantagenet from a prince thereof who, 
having killed his brother to enjoy his principality, afterwards 
repented, and made a voyage to the Holy Land to expiate his 
crime, scourging himself every night with a rod made of the 
plant gen6t. Those people who are sceptical on the point of 
royal repentances, more especially when they require penances 
as an accompaniment, may feel more inclined to give credence 
to the account embodied in the following popular legend, 
which tells us that a sprig of genista was first adopted as the 
family badge by Gefroi, Duke of Anjou, father of Henry H. 
He gathered that wild flower — so runs the story — when, pass- 
ing through a rocky pathway, he beheld on either side bushes 
of yellow broom clinging with firm grasp to the huge stones, 
or upholding the crumbling soil ; and " thus," said he, " shall 
that golden plant ever be my cognizance, — rooted firmly amid 
rocks, and yet upholding that which is ready to fall. I will 
bear it in my crest — amid battle-fields if need be — at tourna- 
ments, and when dispensing justice ! " Thus saying, the 
(varrior broke off a branch, and fixing it in triumph in his cap. 

138 Broom. 

returned to his castle. Not only did the duke adopt his 
country's most beauteous wild flower as a cognizance, but he 
also took the name of Plantagenet, or plania genista, and 
transmitted the same to his princely descendants, who each 
bore it from the time of Henry II. — called by historians the 
first royal sprig of genista, till the third Richard, last scion of 
the plant of Anjou. 

This version of the story how the emblem of humility be- 
came the crest of a sovereign house, is corroborated by Lemon, 
in his " English Etymology." He thus recapitulates the tale : 

" Geofifry, Count of Anjou, acquired the surname of Planta- 
genet from the incident of his wearing a sprig of broom on a 
day of battle. This Geofifry was second husband to Matild, 
or Maud, Empress of Germany and daughter of Henry I. of 
England ; and from this Plantagenet family were descended 
all our Edwards and Henries." 

It could not be expected that so romantic a story would 
escape the poets, and accordingly we find it embalmed in the 
following flowing verse : 

"Time vras when thy golden chain of flowers 
Was linked, the warrior's brow to bind ; 
When rear'd in the shelter of royal bowers, 
Thy wreath with a kingly coronal twined. 

" The chieftain who bore thee high in his crest, 
And bequeathed to his race thy simple name. 
Long ages past has sunk to his rest, 
And only survives in the rolls of fame. 

"Though a feeble thing that Nature forms, 
A frail and perishing flower art thou ; 
Yet thy race has survived a thousand storms, 
That have made the monarch and warrior bow. 

" The storied urn may be crumbled to dust. 
And time may the marble bust deface ; 
But thou wilt be faithful and firm to thy trust. 
The memorial flower of a princely race." 

In 1234, when the brave Marguerite, the Queen of Louis IX. 
of France was crowned, that King, surnamed " the Saint," 
selected the broom as the badge to be worn by the members 
of a new order of knighthood which he created on that festive 
occasion. The knights of this order wore a chain composed 
of the blossoms of the geuit entwined with v/\iit& Jleurs-de-lis, 

Broom. . 139 

from which was suspended a golden cross inscribed with the 
words Exaltat humtles.* Attached to this order was a body- 
guard of one hundred nobles, who wore, embroidered on the 
backs and fronts of their coats, the broom, and above that, a 
.hand holding a crown, with the inscription, Deus exaltat 

Some florigraphists have deemed the broom emblematic of 
ardour, doubtless from the well-authenticated fact that the 
spadix acquires so strong a heat as to be painful to the hand 
when touched. 

There is one great charm, seldom commented upon, about 
this flower, — 

"The golden broom. 
Which scents the passing gale," — 

and that is its delicious aroma. 

■ He exalleth the htunble. t God exalteth the humble. 



THE Poppy is used as the floral sign of consolation; chiefly, 
it is supposed, because, as the Greek mythologists tell 
us, it was created by Ceres whilst in search of her daughter 
Proserpine, as a soother of her grief. Our old pastoral poet, 
William Browne, in his quaint phraseology, says : 

" Sleep-bringing poppy, by the plowman late. 
Not without cause, to Ceres consecrate : 
For being round and full at his half-birth, 
■ It signified the perfect orb of earth ; 
And by his inequalities when blowne, 
The earth's low vales and higher hills were showne ; 
By multitude of grains it held within, 
Of men and beasts the number noted bin. . . . 

Or since her daughter that she loved so well, 

By him that in th' infernal shades does dwell, 


Fairest Proserpina was rapt away. 

And she in plaints the night, in tears the day. 

Had long time spent ; when no high power could give her 

Any redresse, the poppy did relieve her : 

For, eating of the seeds, they sleep procured. 

And so beguiled those griefs she long endured." 

The well-known somniferous qualities of the poppy is ad- 
duced as another reason why it should be deemed symbolic 
of consolation, and of oblivion. That it, the producer of 
Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep, should be chosen as the 
emblem of the alleviation of our troubles, does indeed appear 
just. Shakspeare, Spenser, and others frequently allude to 
the " drowsy poppy " as productive of " the easer of all our 
woes." Leigh Hunt calls it the "blissful poppy," from its 
soothing and sleep-inducing properties ; whilst Horace Smith 
prays : 

5i~^"Si-^^I^'~' t^'"~!rl:J ^'c'^'"'''~'*sf°'~^ 

-' — ' — 1— t::^:^: 

Poppy. 141 

" Gentle Sleep ! 
Scatter thy drowsiest poppies from above ; 
And in new dreams, not soon to vanish, bless 
My senses with the sight of her I love." 

Mr. Davidson states that it was the custom with the Romans 
to offer poppies to the dead, especially to those whose manes 
they designed to appease ; and Virgil, in his " Georgics," call- 
ing it the Lethsean poppy, directs that it be offered by way of 
funeral rite to Orpheus. 

This same Latin writer compares the dying Euryalus, as he 
falls to earth with his white breast pierced by the cruel sword, 
to the poppy, bowing, down its wearied neck when its head is 
overcharged with rain. And his great predecessor. Homer, 
used the same metaphor, if Pope's translation may be relied 
on ; whilst Virgil's worthy successor, Ariosto, reproduced the 

The ancient Greeks, who regarded Sleep as the great com- 
forter of the world, gave him for his only ornament a wreath 
of poppies. The Romans also generally adorned the statues 
of Ceres, the beneficent deity, with the same flowers. 

Our great neglected poet, Richard Home, in " Orion," one 
of the greatest and grandest epics of modern times, introduces 
this symbol blossom thus : 

"He approached 
And found the spot, so sweet with clover flower 
When they cast them down, was now arrayed 
With many-headed poppies, like a crowd 
Of dusky Ethiops in a magic cirque, 
Which had sprung up beneath them in the night. 
And all entranced the air." 




THE Pink is another of those beautiful blossoms made use 
of by florigraphists to indicate the grand passion, it being 
typical of pure love. Florists have two principal divisions of 
these lovely flowers — pinks and carnations. The latter is much 
larger and fuller leaved, but not more fragrant, than its little 
sister. The high rank which this extensive genus held in the 
estimation of the Greeks and Romans may be learned from its 
nomenclature. By the former people it was called the "divine 
flower " (dianthus), the name it still retains ; to the latter race 
it was known as Flos Jovis, or "Jove's Flower;" that title, 
according to some, being bestowed on it for its remarkable 
beauty ; but awarded to it, others say, for its super-eminent 

The Bearded Pink is better known as the Sweet William, 
under which well-known designation it will be found in this 
volume. Of one type of this odoriferous group, the Clove 
Pink, the varieties are endless ; all exhale the most exquisite of 
scents. Whilst the larger kinds are those known as carnations, 
the smaller are termed " gillyflowers," which is a floral name 
more frequently sung of by our ancient poets, from dear old 
Chaucer downwards, than any other. This cognomen is 
supposed to be a corruption of "July flower ;" but that deriva- 
tion has been much questioned of late. Michael Drayton 
calls it 

"The curious choice clove July flower, 
Whose kinds, hight the carnation. 
For sweetness of most sovereign power 

Shall help my wreath to fashion ; 
Whose sundry colours of one kind, 

First from one root derived, 
Them in their several suits I '11 bind, 
My garland so contrived. " 

Pink. 143 

Shakspeare, ever ready to pay a floral compliment, makes 

■' ' "The fairest flowers o' the season 

Are our carnations and streaked gillyflowers." 

And the readers of Spenser and Milton will find these flowers' 

names " as familiar in their mouths as household words." Some 

of our old authors frequently style them " sops-in-wine," from 

the fact, it is alleged, that they were employed in flavouring 

dainty dishes, as well as wine and other drinks ; and they who 

maintain this theory cite a rather problematical passage of 

Chaucer's in support of it. 

The authoress of " Flora Domestica," in her remarks upon 

the celebrity which these flowers have attained through their 

loveliness and fragrance, says in the latter they are equalled 

by few plants, exceeded perhaps by none. As the rose for her 

beauty, the nightingale for his song, so is the pink noted for 

its sweetness. ,, , , „ . , , „ .- • ,, 
And the pink, of smells divme, 

is seldom or ever forgotten when the poets would celebrate the 
charms of Flora. 

Matthisson, the German author, tells of a pretty little inci- 
dent, in which the carnation plays a part. He was near 
Grenoble, in France, and travelling along the road leading to 
Mount Cenis. By the roadside was a little chapel dedicated 
to the Blessed Virgin. Before the altar, which was surmounted 
by vases of flowers, knelt a girl, holding in her hand a bouquet 
of clove carnations. The German traveller alighted from his 
carriage, and, seating himself upon an adjacent rock, watched 
the fair devotee, whose eyes were overrunning with tears. Just 
as she arose from her prayers, a young man, driving some 
horses before him, appeared round the angle of the road, and 
the instant the girl perceived him she flew into his arms, and, 
amid smiles and tears, presented him with the bouquet of car- 
nations, which he placed with reverential care in the bosom of 
his jacket. The traveller continued his journey, musing over 
the probable consequences of the approaching separation — 
perhaps the first — of these young lovers. 

Such incidents are so numerous on a journey through life, 
that they appear almost too trivial for record ; and yet they 
may be the most momentous events in their enactors' histories. 



THE Furze and the broom so closely resemble each other, 
both in form and colour, and are so frequently associated, 
that the former is sometimes styled by botanists Genista spinoscc 
— the thorny broom. The various names by which this bril- 
liant wild flower is known in different parts of the country 
often puzzles readers, and leaves them uncertain as to the 
identity of the plant. In the south it is called furze, whin in 
the east, and in the north, gorse ; and that is how the confu- 
sion arises. 
Furze — 

' ' The vernal furze, 
With golden baskets hung," — 

grows abundantly on all our waste lands, not even shunning 
the neighbourhood of our great metropolis itself; and it is re- 
corded that Linnaeus, who had never seen this plant in Sweden, 
where the climate is too severe for its spontaneous production, 
was so delighted when he first beheld a common near London 
bedecked with its golden blossom, that he fell on his knees, 
enraptured at the sight. Our lost singer, Elizabeth Barrett 
Browning, in some dainty lines entitled "Lessons from the 
Gorse," thus alludes to this story : 

"Mountain gorses, since Linnaeus 
Knelt beside you on the sod, 
For your beauty thanking God,^ 
For your teaching ye should see us 
Bowing in prostration new. 
Whence arisen, if one or two 
Drops be on our cheeks, O worlds 1 they are not tears, but dew. " 

After such poetry — poetry where lurks hidden, like fragrance 
in the flower, more than meets the casual eye — how difficult it 

Furze. 145 

is to turn to chilly prose, and recount how the great botanist 
conveyed to Sweden some plants of " the prickly gorse that 
decks itself with ornaments of gold," and how he complained 
that he could never preserve it in his garden through the 
winter 1 

Even strangers who come from those sunny southern lands, 

" Where the rough rocks with tender myrtles bloom," 

have exhausted the powers of their own musical language in 
describing their feelings of admiration whilst looking upon 
some wild common, fragrant with the perfume and resplendent 
with the lustrous beauty of that plant which, sings Keats, 
" buds lavish gold." 

Floral caligraphists employ this inimitable blossom as the 
emblem of anger, but to the poetess quoted above it conveyed 
a far higher import : 

" Mountain blossoms, shining blossoms. 
Do ye teach us to be glad 
When no summer can be had. 
Blooming in our inward bosoms ? 
Ye whom God preserveth still. 
Set as lights upon a hill. 
Tokens to the wintry earth that Beauty liveth still I 

" Mountain gorses, do you teach us 
From that academic chair 
Canopied with azure air. 
That the wisest word man reaches 
Is the humblest he can speak ? 
Ye who live on mountain peak, 
Yet live low along the ground, beside the grasses meek ! 

Not only, indeed, do these "shining blossoms teach us to 
be glad," by means of their fragrance, and by reason of the 
glowing sea of golden light which they ofttimes display to our 
gratified vision, but by the numerous valuable uses to which 
they can be put — uses too numerous to be mentioned here. 

"In calm and sunny weather," says a floral writer, " it is 
pleasant to hear the crackling sound produced by the explo- 
sion of the elastic seed-vessels among furze-bushes, resembling 
that of tiny popguns, such as fairies might be supposed to use, 
if those small people ever disturbed their pleasant revels with 
warlike deeds." 




"These flowers are like the pleasures of the world." 


THERE are as many florigrapliical meanings attached to 
this choice flower as there are varieties of it, and they, 
veritably, are numberless ; but we have selected the symbol 
that appears to appertain to the genus in general. The name 
Geraniu'>n is derived from the Greek, and signifies a crane, the 
fruit bearing some resemblance to the form of a crane's bill 
and head. Indeed, the old English designation for the wild 
species of this flower was "crane's-bill ;" but the classic form 
has entirely superseded it of late, as it has also consigned to 
oblivion its other title, when in an untamed state, of Herb 

This plant is divided into three genera : Erodium, Pelar- 
gonium, and Geranium, respectively signifying " heron's-bill," 
" stork's-bill," and "crane's-bill," all of which names are de- 
rived from their blossoms' fancied resemblance to the appen- 
dages of those birds. 

The Scented Geranium is considered typical of preference, a 
quality for which the softness of its leaves, the beauty of its 
bloom, and its fragrant odour, will most decidedly obtain it the 
award. It emits a delightful scent when lightly rubbed by the 
finger ; and so accustomed are people to use this experiment, 
that a person approaching a geranium almost mechanically 
rubs or plucks a leaf for the anticipated perfume. 

" And genteel geranium. 
With a leaf for all that come,'' 

seldom fails to obtain notice and admiration, even when sur- 

Geranium. 147 

rounded by the most curious or brilliant exotics ; although, 
when it happens, as it often does, that the plant is not a scented 
one, the experimentalist fully comprehends why it is deemed 
symbolic of deceit. 

The Thick-stemmed Geranium is a very singular plant. This 
species, Mr. Andrews tells us, was found near five feet high in 
the Bay of Angra Peguena, on the south-western coast of 
Africa, in the chasm of a white marble rock, apparently without 
any earth ; for, on pulling up the plant, the roots, several yards 
in length, were naked and hard as wire, and appeared to have 
received nourishment solely from the moisture lodged there 
during the rainy season, assisted by a little sand drifted by the 
wind into the cavities. The heat was so intense on these rocks 
as to blister the soles of the feet ; and yet all the geraniums 
there were in perfection, it being just then their flowering 

All the most admired plants of the geranium family are 
natives of the Cape of Good Hope. The Scarlet Geranium, 
which is not only the most common, but also the most popular, 
of all this genus, is, strange to say, recorded in the language 
of flowers as the emblem of stupidity. It is one of the most 
brilliant of our floral pets, and deservedly, as Cowper remarks, 

" Geranium boasts 
Her ciimson honours." 

A favourite game is played at Rome, in which the leaf 
of the geranium is employed. This game is styled "Far il 
Verde" and seems to consist principally in obtaining forfeits 
from one another. Its rules are too tedious and far-fetched for 
English sympathies. 

Herb Robert, the wild species of this flower, has received 
many poetic tributes : the following verses are extracted from 
a poem addressed to it : 

" There is a small but lovely flower, 
With crimson star and calyx brown, 
On pathway side, beneath the bower. 
By Nature's hand profusely strown. 

" There are its rosy petals shown, 

'Midst curious foims and mosses rare, 
Imbedded in the dark grey stone, 
When not another flower is there." 



THE Fuchsia, a native of Chili, was named after Leonard 
Fuchs, a noted German botanist. 

Mr. Shepherd, the conservator of the Botanic Gardens at 
Liverpool, gives the following interesting account of the intro- 
duction of this elegant little flowering shrub into our English 
gardens and greenhouses. 

Old Mr. Lee, a nurseryman and gardener near London, 
well known fifty or sixty years ago, was one day showing his 
variegated treasures to a friend, who suddenly turned round 
and exclaimed, " Well, you have not in your collection a pret- 
tier flower than I saw this morning at Wapping." " Indeed ? 
and pray what was this phoenix like 1 " was the rejoinder. 
" Why, the plant was elegant, and the flowers hung in rows 
like tassels from the pendent branches, their colour the richest 
crimson, and in the centre a fold of deep purple." Obtaining 
minute direction of the spot, Mr. Lee posted off to Wapping, 
and on discovering the abode, he at once perceived that the 
plant was new in this part of the world. Entering the house, 
which was tenanted by a sailor's wife, he said, "My good 
woman, this is a nice plant ; I should like to buy it." " Ah, sir ! 
I could not part with it for any money : my husband brought 
it from the West Indies for me, and I promised when he went 
to sea again to keep it for his sake." " But I must have it ! " 
" No, sir." " Here — (emptying his pocket) — here are gold, silver, 
copper." (His stock was something more than eight guineas.) 
"Well-a-day! but this is a power of money, sure and sure!" '"Tis 
yours, and the plant is mine ; and, my good dame, you shall 
have one of the first young ones I rear, to keep for your hus- 
band's sake." " Alack ! you '11 promise me ?" " You shall, by 
Jove you shall!" A coach was called, in which was safely 

Fuchsia. 149 

deposited our florist and his purchase. His first work on 
reaching home was to pull off and utterly destroy every ves- 
tige of blossom and blossom bud ; it was divided into cuttings, 
which were forced in hotbeds and bark-beds, were re-divided 
and sub-divided. Every effort was used to multiply the plant, 
and by the commencement of the next flowering season Mr. 
Lee was the delighted possessor of three hundred fuchsia 
plants, all giving promise of blossom. The two which opened 
first were removed into his show-house. A lady came. " Why, 
Mr. Lee — my dear Mr. Lee ! where did you get this charming 
flower } " " Hem ! 't is a new thing, my lady : pretty, is it not.'" 
" Pretty .'' 't is lovely ! Its price.''" "A guinea. Thank you, 
my lady." And one of the two plants was at once carried off 
to her ladyship's boudoir. Scarcely had the flower reached 
its new domicile than a visitor arrived, saw, and admired the 
new floral acquisition ; and learning that there was another 
left, ordered her carriage off at once to Mr. Lee's. A third 
flowering plant stood on the spot whence the first had been 
taken. The second guinea was paid, and the second fuchsia 
found its way to the residence of her second ladyship. The 
scene was repeated as new-comers came, saw, and were con- 
quered by the beauty of the plant. New chariots flew to the 
gates of old Lee's nursery-ground. Two fuchsias, young, 
graceful, and bursting into healthy flower, were constantly 
seen on the same spot in his repository. 

He neglected not to gladden the sailor's wife by the pro- 
mised gift ; but ere the flower season closed, three hundred 
golden guineas chinked in his purse, the produce of the single 
plant of the good-wife of Wapping ; the reward of the taste, 
decision, skill, and perseverance of old Mr. Lee. 


A I. M O N D - T R E E. 


THIS fragrant forerunner of spring has been adopted by 
Western florigraphists as the emblem of indiscretion, 
on account of its flowering so early that its beautiful pink 
blossoms are frequently prevented from fructifying, because of 
the injury they sustain from the frost. With Oriental nations, 
however, the almond has a very different but quite as appro- 
priate signification. The Mahommedans regard its flowers as 
typical of hope, because they bloom on the bare branches. 
Moore, with his usual felicity of expression, has thus availed 
himself of this pretty allegory : 

" The dream of a future happier hour 
That alights on misery's brow, 
Springs out of the silvery almond flower 
That blooms on a leafless bough. " 

Pleasant a sight to our eyes as is this tree in blossom, in 
Oriental climes it is seen in far greater perfection. It grows 
to between twenty and thirty feet high, and the blooms 
spread from one end of the young branches to the other, as 
thickly as they can grow, and before a leaf is to be seen. The 
Hebrew writers, who regarded the almond as a symbol of 
haste and vigilance, frequently refer to it. "What seest thou .' " 
said the Lord to Jeremiah; and the prophet answered, " I see 
a rod of an almond-tree." Then said the Lord, " Thou hast 
seen well ; for I will hasten my word and perform it." 

The rod of Aaron, which budded and brought forth fruit, 
was of the almond-tree : " it budded, and brought forth buds, 
and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." A writer on 
Scriptural plants, remarking on an allusion made to the al- 
mond in the twelfth chapter of that magnificent poem, Ecclesi- 
astes, says, "The almond-tree, covered with its snow-white 
blossoms, is a beautiful poetic emblem of the hoary head, and 

Almond- Tr ee. 151 

the casting of the blossoms might further represent the shed- 
ding of the silver locks from the venerable brows of age." 

The Hebrew name of this tree is "shakad," which means to 
make haste, or to awake early. 

The ancient fabulists, who had some beautiful legend to 
account for all the phenomena of nature, ascribed the origin 
of the almond-tree to Phyllis, a young and beautiful Thracian 
queen, who became enamoured of and wedded Demophoon, 
the son of Theseus and Phaedra, and who, on his return from the 
siege of Troy, had been cast by a storm upon the shores of 
Thrace. Recalled to Athens by his father's death, the royal 
consort promised to return in a month, but failing to do so, 
the afflicted bride gradually lost all hopes of seeing him again, 
and, after several unfruitful visits to the sea-shore, died of grief, 
and was transformed into an almond-tree. After three months' 
absence the truant husband returned, and, overwhelmed with 
sorrow, offered a sacrifice by the sea-shore to appease the 
manes of his luckless bride. Loving even in death, she ap- 
peared to respond to his repentance ; for the almond-tree, into 
which she was metamorphosed, instantly put forth flowers, 
as if to prove by one last effort the unchangeableness of her 

In former times an abundance of blossom on the almond- 
tree was regarded as the omen of a fruitful season. 

Flos Adonis. 


THIS emblem of painful recollections has received as many 
names as a Spanish princess. To Gerarde it was known 
as May-flower and red camomile ; but he says, " our London 
women do call it rose-a-rubie." Red morocco and pheasant's 
eye are also amongst its cognomens, but, Adonis flower and 
Flos Adonis are the titles by which it is at present recognized. 
To the poetical Greeks it was known as the Spring-flower ; by 
the French it is termed " drops of blood," or gouttes de sang, 
in allusion to the fable which ascribes its origin to the blood of 
Adonis. In all probability the flower received its classic name 
of Adonis from being confounded with the anemone, which it 
resembles. They, however, are not the only blossoms which 
lay claim to the same illustrious origin : the larkspur has been 
put forward as an aspirant for this honour, but its claim has 
obtained very few advocates. Moschus gives the right to the 
rose, as also did Bion, in his well-known "Lament for Adonis," 
of which the words in question are thus rendered by Mrs. 
Browning, in her translation of the poem : 

" She wept tear after tear, with the blood which was shed. 
And both turned into flowers for the earth's garden-close ; 
Her tears to the wind-flower — his blood to the rose." 

Some will have it that the identical bloom — whichever one 
it was, and quaint old Gerarde would persuade us that it was 
the Venice mallow — sprang up entirely from the tears shed by 
Venus. When doctors differ it is hard to come to an under- 
standing, and therefore we will content ourselves with the re- 
flection that whatever flower it was that came of such renowned 
parentage, this pretty crimson blossom most decidedly deserves 

Flos Adonis. 153 

it. In the southern corn-fields of England it is very often seen, 
lifting up its deep red cup amongst the green slender leaves 
of the barley and wheat long before their grain appears. Like 
its namesake the beautiful hunter, it is said to be an enemy to 
the corn ; but its bright and transient blossoms fade quickly 
— as quickly, let us hope, as the recollections which they 

In Leigh Hunt's " Foliage," there is a translation from the 
Greek pastoral poet Theocritus, which alludes to the classic 
story that this favourite of Venus was allowed to revisit and 
spend six months of the year with her on earth, alternately 
with six months spent with Proserpine in the lower regions : 

' Go, beloved Adonis, go, 
Year by year thus to and fro." 



THE Arbutus, or strawberry-tree, as it is frequently called 
in England and France, because of the resemblance of 
its fruit to a strawberry, is one of those rare and delightful 
objects on which Nature, with a lavish profusion, showers at 
one time bud, blossom, and fruit. 

This beautiful symbol of inseparable love requires a whole 
twelvemonth to perfect its fruit, so that in the autumn of the 
year, when other trees and flowers are shedding their withered 
leaves and petals on the ground, the lovely arbutus may be 
seen, with its rich red strawberry-like fruit — clusters of waxen- 
hued blossoms, their vine-coloured stems, and its green leaves, 
resembling those of the bay — all flourishing in unstinted 
abundance, thus realizing the poetic fiction of fruit and flowers 
growing together. 

Surely this sweet emblem of a sweeter theme passed through 
the mind of Thomson, when, in his " Seasons," he talked of 

"Great Spring, before. 
Greened all the year; and fruit and blossoms blushed 
In social sweetness on the selfsame bough." 

Sir Arthur Elton, it is presumed, is the author of the follow- 
ing truthful description of this botanical phenomenon : 

"The leafy arbute spreads 
A snow of blossoms, and on every bough 
Its vermeil fruitage glitters to the sun." 

The fruit of the common arbutus is called unedo; and Pliny 
is said to have given it that name because it was so bitter that 
only one could be eaten at a time. In Spain and Italy, how- 
ever, the country-people eat them, and in the early ages it 

Arbutus. 155 

appears to have been a common article of food. In Padua, 
and other Italian cities, they are still sold in the markets ; 
whilst the English and American confectioners are reported to 
use large quantities of the thyme-leaved arbutus-berries as a 
substitute for cranberries, which fruit they resemble. 

Horace has celebrated the arbutus in his odes, whilst his 
predecessor, Virgil, very frequently mentions it, and, in the 
" .^neid," describes the bier cf Evander's son, young Pallas, 
as formed of arbutus rods and oaktn twigs. Sannazaro speaks 
of the arbutus as employed, together with other symbolic trees 
and flowers, at the celebration of the festival in honour of Pales, 
a rural goddess of the Romans. 

In Barthelemy's " Travels of Anacharsis the Younger," this 
tree is spoken of as growing on Mount Ida — as attaining a 
considerable height, and, above all, being of such virtue that 
serpents ceased to be venomous after feeding upon its fruit, 
which fruit the neighbouring peasants consider exquisitely 
sweet. These trees, of course, belonged to the Oriental arbutus, 
or andrachne, as it is generally called. Dallaway speaks of it 
as abounding in the vicinity of the far-famed Miletus, and 
states that the fruit resembles a scarlet strawberry both in size 
and flavour. 

This same traveller states that it grows in wild luxuriance, 
amid myrtles and roses, about Belgrade — a place that Lady 
Mary Montague described in her charming letters as a perfect 
Paradise, but which modern progress has wonderfully trans- 
mogrified into something very different. 

Evelyn complained sadly in his time of the neglect shown 
to this lovely child of Nature, and at the present day he would 
scarcely find much to cause an alteration in his tone. 





THIS first-born flower of the flowers of spring is generally 
deemed the emblem of hope, ahhough some have regarded 
it as symbohc of humility, of gratitude, of consolation, of in- 
nocence, and lastly, but by no means least — of friendship in 

In the year's earliest days, while the leafless trees and the 
otherwise flowerless ground are white with frost — when the 
sharp winds are roaring over the wold, and when the whole 
earth looks dead and drear — this fragile blossom, gently dis- 
placing the incumbent snow, uprears its tiny fairy bells and 
its tender little green leaves, looks smilingly into our admiring 
faces, and seems to bid our chilled hearts take courage — to 
remind us that "hope springs eternal in the human breast," 
and, as Mrs. Oakes Smith has so beautifully expressed in "The 
Sinless Child," 

" And wheresoe'er the weary heart 
Turns in its dim despair, 
The meek-eyed blossom upward looks. 
Inviting it to prayer." 

The classic name for this flower is galantJms, signifying milk 
flower ; it is the earliest blower of all our wild blossoms — in 
mild seasons displaying its beauties even in January, but more 
frequently waiting until the following month, for which reason 
it is sometimes named " Fair Maid of February." 

In allusion to its often uprearing its head amid the snow, as 
if to rival its purity and whiteness, Mrs. Barbauld has : 

"As Flora's breath, by some transforming power. 
Had changed an icicle into a flower." 

Mary Robinson, a now almost forgotten poetess, has left us 
the following pretty verses on this little flower : 

Snowdrop. 157 

" The snowdrop, Winter's timid child, 
Awakes to life, bedewed with tears, 
And flings around its fragrance mild ; 
And, where no rival flow'rets bloom 
Amidst the bare and chilling gloom, 
A beauteous gem appears. 

• • » • 

" Where'er I find thee, gentle flower. 

Thou still art sweet and dear to me I 
For I have known the cheerless hour. 
Have seen the sunbeams cold and pale, 
Have felt the chilling wintry gale, 

And wept and shrunk like thee." 

Mrs. Robinson is correct in endowing the snowdrop with 
" fragrance mild ; " Mrs. Barbauld styles it " the scentless 
plant," and, although her evidence is corroborated by these 
lines of Mrs. Charlotte Smith, the snowdrop has a faint per- 

" Like pendent flakes of vegetating snow, 
The early herald of the infant year, 
Ere yet the adventurous crocus dares to blow. 
Beneath the orchard boughs thy buds appear. 

" While still the cold north-easfungenial lowers. 
And scarce the hazel in the leafless copse 
Or shallows show their downy powdered flowers, 
The grass is spangled with thy silver drops. 

"Yet when those pallid blossoms shall give place 
To countless tribes of richer hue and scent. 
Summer's gay blooms, and Autumn's yellow race, 
I shall thy pale inodorous bells lament." 

These poetic specimens prove not only the favour this floral 
" day star ". finds with the poets, but also, what may be more to 
the present purpose, with the ladies. Women and flowers are 
a natural and every-day association — "sweets to the sweet;" 
and there does not appear anything so very' singular in the 
fact that in the Malayan tongue the same word signifies women 
and flowers. 

The snowdrop is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and tradition 
asserts that it blooms on the second of February, or Candlemas 
Day — ^the day kept in celebration as that on which the Holy 
Virgin took the child Jesus to the Jewish Temple, and there 
presented an offering. 



THIS elegant but fragile flower is one of those favourites 
which our olden poets so delighted to honour. The 
" pale cowslip fit for maidens' early bier," is the most appro- 
priate emblem for youthful beauty ; and, under that typical 
meaning, is frequently found associated in the songs of our 
minstrels with all that is fair and frail. 

Milton takes advantage of the gracefulness of its drooping 
plume of blossoms, waving over their slender stem, to place 
upon the tomb of Lycidas, amid such gentle flowers as sad 
embroidery wear, " Cowslips wan that hang the pensive head." 

Our great epicist, in his sylvan masque of " Comus," has 
given an exquisite song to Sabrina, in which the airy tread of 
that goddess " o'er the cowslip's velvet head " is most delicately 
expressed : 

" By the rushy, fringed bank, 
Where grow the willow and the osier danl<. 

My sliding chariot stays ; 
Thick set with agate and the azure sheen 
Of turkis bUie and emerald green, 

That in the channel strays ; 
Whilst from off the waters fleet, 
Thus I set my printless feet, 
O'er the cowslip's velvet head, 
That bends not as I tread. 
Gentle swain, at thy request 
I am here. " 

The cowslip belongs to the same genus as the primrose, and 
is supposed to have received its name from its soft velvety 
texture, resembling that of a lip ; but Yorkshire people call it 
" cowstripling," which certainly points to another origin. In 
some parts of Kent it is called " fairy cup," whilst in the mid- 
land and northern portions of Britain this flower of many 
names is known as " paigle." 

Cowslip. 159 

The blossoms exhale a quaint odour which some persons 
deem very fragrant. The roots, which are collected in March, 
and dried, have a strong scent of anise. It is said they impart 
a flavour to wine. A sweet and pleasant liquor, considered by 
some people to resemble Muscadel, is made from the flowers ; 
it is slightly narcotic in its effects. Says Pope : 

" For want of rest, 
Lettuce and cowslip wine — -probatum est." 

In former times, before it was considered pleasant to poison 
oneself with decoctions of logwood, and even worse concomi- 
tants, cowslip wine was much drunk ; and many a maiden 
could say of this, as Christabel did of her wild-flower drink, 

" It is a wine of virtuous powers ; 
My mother made it of wild flowers.'' 

In some sweet, secluded, out-of-the-way country villages, a 
glass of cowslip wine may still be had ; and many a little 
cottage maiden still rambles the meadows collecting its pallid 
blossoms to dispose of in the market for a trifle wherewith to 
get " a fairing." 

Country folks eat the pretty crinkly leaves as a salad ; and, 
as a substitute for mulberry-leaves, they are much recom- 
mended ; so that altogether the cowslip may be considered a 
very useful, as well as ornamental, plant. 

The colour of the flower is generally a bright yellow, dashed 
with deep orange, sometimes approaching to crimson. 

Jachimo describes Imogen as having 

" On her left breast 
A mole cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops 
1' the bottom of a cowslip." 

Elsewhere, Shakspeare, speaking of the Fairy Queen, says, 

" The cowslips tall her pensioners be ; 
In their gold coats spots we see ; 
Those be rubies, fairy favours, — 
In those freckles live their savours ; 
I must go seek some dewdrops here, 
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear." 

These flowers furnish an abundant supply of honey to the 
bee, for, 

i6o Cowslip. 

" Rich in vegetable gold, 
From calyx pale the freckled cowslip born, 
Receives in amber cups the fragrant dews of mom." 

Ben Jonson combines this flower with another well-known 
wilding of Nature, and sings of 

"Bright day's eyes, and the lips of cows." 

Mrs. Sigourney, in her " Gossip with a Bouquet," thus 
suggestively introduces the emblem oi youthful beauty. 

" Good neighbour cowslip, I have seen the bee 
Whispering to you, and have been told he stays 
Quite long and late amid your golden cells. 
Is it not business that he comes upon — 
Matter of fact? He never wastes an hour. 
Know you that he 's a subtle financier. 
And shows some gain for every day he spends? 
Oh ! learn from him the priceless worth of time, 
Thou fair and frail ! So shalt thou prove the truth. 
That he who makes companion of the wise 
Shall in their wisdom share. " 

The Virginian Cowslip, deemed symbolic of the rather 
ostentatious expression, you are my divinity, is a very elegant 
plant that flowers in April and May. From the centre of a 
tuft of broad leaves, lying flat upon the mould, rises a single 
graceful shaft, surmounted by twelve pretty purple or peach- 
coloured inverted blossoms. Linnaeus christened it by the 
name of " Dodecatheon, or Twelve Divinities." 

This plant will endure our most severe winters, but cannot 
sustain the heat, and two or three days' exposure to a hot 
sun will, it is said, entirely destroy the offsets. 

Those flowers styled " Cowslips of Jerusalem," although 
they much resemble the veritable cowslip in form, belong to 
an entirely different race. Their colours are very varied in 
hue, not only in the same cluster, but even on the individual 
blossoms their manifold shades of red and blue are continually 

Drayton, in his " Pastorals," introduces this flower into very 
honourable floral company : 

"Maids, get the choicest flowers, a garland, and entwine, 
Nor pinks nor pansies let there want — ^be sure of eglantine. 

" White roses, damask, white and red, the dearest flower-de-lys, 
Tlie cowslip of Jerusalem, and clove of Paradise." 



THIS emblem of deceptive hopes derives its botanical name 
from a Greek word signifying a swallow, because, say 
.some, of its coming and going with that bird ; but our old 
ilorigraphists give a different reason ; and according to Ge- 
rarde, it was so called from an opinion which prevailed among 
the country people, that the old swallows used it to restore 
sight to their young when their eyes were out. This idea is 
supported by Lyte, who, in his rare old " Herbal," speaking of 
the larger celandine, gravely remarks : " Chelidonium, that is 
lo say, swallow-herbe ; bycause, as Plinie writeth, it was the 
first found out by swallowes, and hath healed the eyes and 
restored sight to their young ones that have had harme in 
their eyes or have been blinde." In Culpepper's " Herbal " we 
also find this flower recommended for its virtues in restoring 
the eyesight. Says that veracious student of nature : " This 
is a herb of the sun, and under the celestial lion, and is one of 
the best cures for the eyes ; for all that know anything in as- 
trology know that the eyes are subject to the Arminaries. . . . 
Make it into an oil or ointment, which you please, to anoint 
your sore eyes with : I can prove it both by my own expe- 
rience and the experience of those to whom I have taught it, 
that desperate sore eyes have been cured by this only medi- 
cine. ... It is called chelidonium, from the Greek word 
chelidon, which signifies a swallow, because they say that if 
you put out the eyes of young swallows when they are in the 
nest, the old ones will recover them again with this herb. 
This I am confident, for I have tried it, that if we mar the 
very apples of their eyes with a needle, she will recover them 
again ; but whether with this herb or not, I know not." 

Notwithstanding the opinions of these time-honoured men, 




it is pretty well known now-a-days that the only benefit the 
sight gets from these wild blossoms is in the pleasure derived 
from gazing upon them. 

The cheerful-looking little flower called the "lesser celan- 
dine," deemed emblematical oi joys to come, belongs to another 
floral family, quite distinct from the swallow-wort or major 
celandine. It resembles the buttercup in colour, but is formed 
like a star, with heart-shaped leaves. The blossoms appear 
very early in spring, and at night and in wet weather fold up 
their petals, which instinctive precaution probably preserves 
them from the destructive elements. When the glossy golden 
flowers fall off, they are succeeded by small tubers resembling 
grains of wheat ; these tubers grow from the bosom of the 
leaves, and, as the stalks lie upon the ground, grow into the 
earth and become the roots of new plants. The stalks often 
being washed bare by the heavy rains have induced the unin- 
vestigating to report that it had rained wheat. 

The glossy star-like blossoms and lustrous green leaves of 
this little flower seem to have rendered it a great favourite with 
Wordsworth, as he has repeatedly sung praises of its " bright 
coronet : " 

"Pansies, lilies, kingcups, daisies, 
Let them live upon their praises : 
Long as there 's a sun that sets. 
Primroses will have their glory ; 

Long as there are violets. 
They will have a place in story. 
There 's a flower that shall be mine, 
'T is the little celandine. 

"Ere a leaf is on the bush, 
In the time before tlie thrush 

Has a thought about its nest. 
Thou wilt come with half a call, 
Spreading out thy glossy breast 
Like a careless prodigal ; 
Telling tales about the sun, 
When we 've little warmth or none. 

"Ill befall the yellow flowers. 
Children of the flaring hours ! 
Buttercups that will be seen, 
Whether we will see or no ; 

Others, too, of lofty mien ; 
They have done as worldlings do, 
Taken praise that should be thine, 
Little humble celandine ! 

"Prophet of delight and mirth, 
Scorned and slighted upon earth ; 

Herald of a mighty band, 
Of a joyous train ensuing ; 

Singing at my heart's command. 
In the lanes my thoughts pursuing ; 
I will sing, as doth behove. 
Hymns in praise of what I lov». " 


Dead Leaves. 


" Ah me ! a leaf with sighs can wring 
My lips asunder." 

E. B. Browning. 

NEVER did the florigraphist select from nature a more 
appropriate interpreter of man's innermost passions 
than when he chose dead leaves as representative of melancholy. 
Never did poet utter a more profound truth than he who said, 

"When we are sad, to sadness we apply 
Each plant, and flower, and leaf that meets the eye." 

True sadness so intensifies — it might be said so exaggerates 
— the meaning of everything beheld through its misty veil, 
that we fancy all that is seen is connected with our own es- 
pecial sorrow; gradually grow egotistical in our grief; and then 
finally — ^so beautifully does the machinery of this existence 
" work together for good " — by the very self-contemplation 
which appeared calculated to perpetuate our melancholy, for- 
get it, or rather perceive that it leaves behind nothing but 
soothing memories. It does not require a poet to discover 
" that there is a lesson in each leaf ;" the youth or maid whom 
melancholy hath marked for its own will speedily read and com- 
prehend the silent monitor. But how dififerent may be the 
purport of a single leaf ! To one it may merely be a frail record 
of the passing pleasure of a thoughtless jest, and to another it 
may bear stern memories of irrecoverable happiness ! — may 
indeed be able with sighs to wring our lips asunder ! 

But as Westby Gibson, the peasant bard of Sherwood, in 
his fine poem of " Dead Leaves," says, 

" Be this as it may, the flow'r and the leaf — 
The types of all that is sweet and fair — 
Are symbols alike of joy and grief;" 

and as such we must accept them. 


i6d Dead Leaves. 

There are few who have lived and loved who will accept 
Coleridge's dictum, that " in nature there is nothing melan- 
choly." It is impossible for those who have suffered — and 
who has not ? — not to perceive evidences of sorrow, although 
ever counterbalanced by the sunny side in all portions of this 
mundane sphere. From the grief of man to the decay of the 
tiniest leaflet, every object in nature wears at times a melan- 
choly hue. It is impossible for the gayest of us not to feel 
occasionally the shadow, — for us not to mourn for 

"The rich gleaming wreathings, — oh, where are they now ? 
The bloom is departed, the beauty is shed ; 
All Scentless the flower, all sapless the bough, — 
Oh ! the glad night is past, and the green leaves are dead." 

Yet we should not nurse our melancholy ; but as the dead 
leaves falling from their branches are but proofs of the general 
and continual rejuvenescent workings of nature, so should we 
strive to regard our losses and troubles only as proofs of the 
grand truth that " all things work together for good." With 
Jean Ingelow let us learn that 

'"Tis sometimes natural to be glad, 
And no man can be always sad 
Unless he wills to have it so.'' 

A bright-minded young poetess, whose premature loss it 
has already been our melancholy duty to allude to, some few 
years ago contributed these hopeful and appropriate lines to 
the pages of a contemporary : 

"The withered leaves, trembling, love, "The world it looks dreary, love. 

Fall to the ground ; And thick falls the rain ; 

And strewn over all, love, My heart it is weary, love. 

Lie dying around. My head throbs with pain. 

Idled by the frost, love. My hopes thickly fall, love, 

The flowers scattered lie ; Like the leaves from a tree ; 

Their brightness is lost. And I cannot recall 

And neglected they die. ' Their beauty to me. 

"With thy heart I am blest, love. 
So I '11 brave the chill rain ; 
And patiently rest, love. 

Till the sun shines again. 
And I hope when the Spring, love, 

Gives leaves to the tree. 
Some flowers it will bring, love. 
For you and for me. " 

Ella Ingram. 



" There are pansies : that 's for thoughts." 


THE Heart s-ease, as its French name of pansy or pensee 
intimates, is in the language of flowers symboUcal of 
remembrance. It is a beautiful variety of the violet, far sur- 
passing that flpwer in diversity and brilliance of colour, but 
possessing little, if any, of the exquisite fragrance for which that 
is so renowned. Although it certainly has so little in the way 
of perfume to recommend it, its lovely diversification and con- 
trasts of colour, combined with the glossy velvet sheen of its 
petals, renders it a much-admired floral pet. It appertains to 
a very extensive family, and is found in many portions of the 
globe ; it grows wild in Japan, Languedoc, Italy, and in our 
own country, where it is supposed to be indigenous. A very 
pretty pale yellow variety may often be discovered nestling 
amid the corn. 

" There are pansies : that 's for thoughts." 

says Shakspeare, and availing himself of the usual licence of 
poets, the great bard describes the pansy as originally milk- 
white, until it got struck by a shaft which that little unbreeched 
rogue Cupid had aimed at Diana, so that it is now "purple 
with love's wound." 

Mrs. Siddons is said to have been much enamoured of this 
blossom, and to have used it for edgings to all the borders of 
her flower-beds. The purchases of these " bright mosaics " 
were so frequent, that her servant who obtained them for her 
was known to the surrounding nurserj'men by the soubriquet oi 
" Heart's-ease." 

An amusing story is related in connection with this flower. 
In 1815, a cure of a small French town gave his pupils as a 

1 66 IIeart's-ease. 

theme for their next exercise the viola tricolor, or heart's-ease, 
and supplied them with the following passage out of Rapin's 
Latin poem, " The Gardens," as a motto : 

" Flosque yovis variiis, folii tricoloris, et ipsi 
Far uioliX. " 

This circumstance coming to the ears of the mayor, he, with 
the usual sagacity of such officials, " smelt a rat," and, to make 
all sure, had the innocent cure apprehended and brought be- 
fore his worship for examination. Imagine the poor teacher's 
astonishment when he found what a ludicrous translation of 
the inoffensive quotation awaited him. The mayor had thus 
ingeniously construed the words : Flos Jovis (Jove's flower) 
was evidently intended for the flower of the exiled Napoleon ; 
folii tricoloris denoted the national three-coloured cockade; 
whilst ct ipsi par violce most decidedly alluded to le pkre de la 
violette, as the ex-emperor was affectionately styled by his 
partisans, who generally wore those blossoms in their button- 
holes ! 

This floral pet, having received much attention from the 
feminine world, has been very appropriately designated " the 
ladies' flower," a name which is not the most fanciful that it 
has acquired, for, to quote once more our great dramatist, 
maidens call it " love in idleness." 

" Three-pretty-faces-under-one-hood " is another of its pretty 

A few years since the heart's-ease was a humble little flower 
quite unknown to floral fame : in the year i8i2, however, Lady 
Mary Bennett, then residing at Walton-on-Thames, entertained 
a penchant for the flower, and had a small garden planted 
entirely with it. Desirous of pleasing her, the gardener se- 
lected the seed of the choicest varieties, and to his pleasur- 
able astonishment, on germinating, the seedlings displayed the 
most marvellous diversity of beauty and style. Milton's "pansy 
freaked with jet," and even Shakspeare's purple "love in idle- 
ness," were far outshone by these pampered children of Nature. 
Their breeder proudly displayed his triumphs to fellow-florists, 
and in a little while the heart's-ease ranked amongst the 
flowers of fashion. Such are the effects of education ! 

Thiit quaint old impostor, Culpepper, says, " This is that 

Heart's-ease. 167 

herb which such physicians as are licensed to blaspheme by 
authority, without danger of having their tongues burned 
through with a hot iron, called an ' herb of the Trinity.' It is 
also called by those that are more moderate," he adds. '"Three- 
faces-in-a-hood ;' 'love-in-idleness;' ' call-me-to-you ; ' and in 
Sussex we call them ' pancies.' " 

Our old writers had many different methods of spelling this 
flower's name, and Ben Jonson's mode comes nearer the 
French sound than does the modern style of orthography. 
He says, 

" Now the shining meads 
Do boast the paunse, lily, and the rose. 
And every flower doth laugh as zephyr blows." 

Dryden, translating one of Virgil's " Pastorals," introduces 
the pansy amongst sweet plants in general, but apparently 
only to depict its want of fragrance. 

" Pansies to please the sight, and cassia sweet to smell," 

he sings ; but, though the smaller varieties are scentless, some 
of the larger ones have a pleasant perfume — scarcely so power- 
ful, however, even to the most sensitive nostrils, as Drayton 
would have us believe : 

" The pansy and the violet here, " And pointing to a pink to tell 

As seeming to descend Which bears it, it is loth 

Both from one root, a very pair, To judge it ; but replies, for smell. 

For sweetness do contend. That it excels them both 

" Wherevrith displeased they hang their heads, 
So angry soon thy grow, 
And from their odoriferous beds 
Their sweets at it they throw. " 

Milton introduces this little favourite into the wreaths 
brought to Sabrina by the grateful shepherds : 

"The shepherds at their festivals 
Carol' her goodness loud in rustic lays, 
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream, 
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils." 

Heart's-ease is not so modern an appellation for this flower 
as is generally supposed. Bunyan, in his " Pilgrim's Progress," 
represents the guide as saying to Christiana and her children, 
of a boy who was singing beside his sheep, " Do you hear him ? 
I will dare to say this boy leads a merrier life, and wears more 

lOiS Hearts-ease. 

of that herb called heart's-ease in his bosom, than he that is 
clothed in silk or purple." 

Probably no flower has ev'^er been endowed with so many- 
loving names as has this one. In short, as Leigh Hunt — one 
of its most intense admirers — observes, "The Persians them- 
selves have not a greater number of fond appellations for the 
rose, than the people of Europe for the heart's-ease. . . . The 
modern Latin name for it is Flos Jovis, or Jove's flower — a 
cognomen rather too worshipful for its little sparkling delicacy, 
and more suitable to the greatness of an hydrangea, or to the 
diadems of a rhododendron. 

" 'Jove's own flower, that shares the violet's pride, 
Its want of scent virith triple charms supplied.' 

" The name given to it by the Italians is Jiaminola, the ' little 
flame,' at least, this is an appellation with which I have met, 
and it is quite in the taste of that ardent people. The French 
call it a pens4e, ' a thought.' ' There are pansies,' says poor 
Ophelia : ' that 's for thoughts.' Drayton, in his world of 
luxuries, the ' Muses' Elysium, where he fairly stifles you with 
sweets, has given, under this name of it, a very brilliant image 
of its effect in a wreath of flowers. The nymph says, 

" ' Amongst these roses in a row, 

Next place I pinks in plenty, 
These double daisies then for show ; 

And will not this be dainty? 
The pretty pansy then I '11 tye, 

Like stones some chain enchasing; 
The next to them, their near ally. 

The purple violet placing.' 

" Another of its names is ' love-in-idleness,' under which it 
has been again celebrated by Shakspeare, to whom we must 
always return for anything and everything : his fairies make 
potent use of it in the ' Midsummer Night's Dream.' 

" Besides these names, this tricoloured violet is also called, 
in various country places, ' Jump-up-and-kiss-me-quick ; ' 'the 
herb Trinity ; ' ' three-faces-under-a-hood ; ' ' kiss-me-behind- 
the-garden-gate ; ' and ' cuddle-me-to-you,' which seems to 
have been altered by some nice apprehension into the less 
vivacious request of ' call-me-to-you.' " 

Leigh Hunt continually finds occasion to laud his favourite. 
Thus, in his " Feast of Poets," he entwines it with the vine 

Hear t's-ease. i 69 

and the bay, in order to form a suitable wreath for Tom Moore's 
acceptance at the hands of Apollo. In his notes to the poem 
he says, " For my part, to whom gaiety and companionship are 
more than ordinarily welcome on many accounts, I cannot but 
speak with gratitude of this little flower — one of many with 
which fair and dear friends have adorned my prison-house, 
and the one which outlasted all the rest." 

This same enthusiastic poet, in his " Descent of Liberty," 
after depicting several floral beauties, finishes the picture with 
the pansy : 

" And as proud as all of them 
Bound in one, the garden's j^em, 
Heart's-ease, like a gallant bold, 
In his cloth of purple and gold." 

When, in his " History of the Months," after enumerating 
various blossoms, he comes to his invariable pet, he is unable 
to pass it by without bestowing some endearing name upon 
it, and so calls it the "sparkler," — a name which it so truly 
deserves, that it might well be added to those it now bears, in 
which it already surpasses a Spanish grandee. 

It is said somewhere that the heart's-ease is sacred to Saint 
Valentine. It must be confessed to be a choice worthy of that 
amiable and very popular saint ; for the flower, like love, is 
painted in the most brilliant colours, is full of sweet names, 
and grows alike in the humblest as well as the richest soils. 
Another point of resemblance, too, may be added : that where 
it has Once taken root, it so pertinaciously perpetuates itself, 
that it is almost impossible to eradicate it. 

The celebrated Quesnay, founder of the Economists, was 
styled his thinker by Louis XV., whose physician he was. The 
French monarch, in order to manifest the great regard he had 
for this nobleman, devised for him a coat of arms bearing three 
flowers of \kis, pens4e. 

Miss Pratt, alluding to the symbolism of this flower, remarks 
that whilst its familiar name of heart's-ease renders it a pleas- 
ing emblem to us, to our Gallic brethren its name of " thought " 
presents a sad one. " May they be far from thee," is a motto 
aflnxed to the little painted group of pansies mingled with 
marygolds, called soucis, cares, which is sometimes given as an 
off'ering of friendship by a French lady. 



THIS plant derives its name from a Greek word signifying 
royal. It is generally called " sweet basil ; " and why so 
odoriferous a herb should have become the symbol of hatred 
it is difficult to imagine. Some say because, at times, the 
ancients represented Poverty by the figure of a female covered 
with rags, and seated by a plant of basil. 

These sweet-scented herbs are chiefly natives of the East 
Indies, where their seeds are deemed efficacious against the 
poison of serpents. In Persia, where it is called rayhan, 

"The basil tuft that waves 
Its fragrant blossom over graves," 

is generally found in churchyards. 

We read, in Maillet's " Letters," that the Egyptian women 
go, at least two days in the week, to pray and weep at the 
sepulchres of the dead ; and the custom there is to throw upon 
the tombs a sort of herb, which the Arabs call rikan, and which 
is our sweet basil. By the Hindoos the basil is highly venera- 
ted ; they call it " holy shrub," and have named after it a 
sacred grove of their Parnassus, on the banks of the Yamuna. 

In a beautiful poem by Shelley, this plant is alluded to as a 
token flower : 

"Madonna, wherefore hast thou sent to me 

Sweet basil and mignonette ? 
Embleming love and health, which never yet 
In the same wreath might be. 
Alas, and they are wet ! 
Js it vrith thy kisses or thy tears ? 
For never rain or dew 
Such fragrance drew 
From plant or flower." 

Basil. 171 

It has been suggested as the reason for Boccaccio's selecting 
the basil to shade the terrible relic which Isabella so lovingly 
preserved, that it might have formerly been the custom in 
Italy to use it in decorating tombs and graves ; but it is more 
probable that the author of the " Decameron,'" obtained the 
allusion to the herb where he got so many of his stories from 
— the East. 

Keats and Barry Cornwall have both contributed, by their 
exquisite poetical rendering of the story, to make it familiar 
to English readers. 

The latter, unlike Boccaccio, does not make the unhappy 
heroine preserve her lover's head, but his heart, which she has 
enwrapped and embalmed. Keats more closely follows his 
Italian authority, and makes Isabella bury the head under the 
fragrant herb — telling how she 

" Hung over her sweet basil evermore. 
And moisten'd it with tears unto the core. 

" And so she ever fed it virith thin tears. 

Whence thick, and green, and beautiiiil it "pew. 

So that it smelt more balmy than its peers 
Of basil tufts in Florence ; for it drew 

Nurture besides, and life, from human fears. 

From the fast-mouldering head there shut from view ; 

So that the jewel safely casketed 

Came forth, and in perfumed leaflets spread." 

Some people have tried to connect the name of this plant 
with the fabulous basilisk, which was supposed to kill with a 
single glance — ^whence arose the common saying, that "Hate 
has the eye of a basilisk." 

Culpepper, in his quaint old " Herlaal," declares that basil is 
a cure for venomous bites and stings, besides effecting several 
other wonderful things. " Hilarious," he states, " a French 
physician, affirms upon his own knowledge, that an acquain- 
tance of his, by common smelling to it, had a scorpion bred in 
his brain!" 

This veracious botanical, medical, and astrological authority 
furthermore states that " something is the matter ; this herb 
and rue will never grow together — no, nor near one another ; 
and we know rue is as great an enemy to poison as any that 

Forget ME-NOT. 

"Hope's gentle gem, the sweet forget-me-not." 


"The sweet forget-me-nots that grow for happy lovers." 


A BEAUTIFUL little flower, whose name enfolds no 
hieroglyphic secret, but whose beloved face of heavenly 
blue is suggestive of its sorrowful meaning, is the Forget-me- 
not. The German legend that accounts for the poetical appel- 
lation by which this tiny floral pet is known, runs thus : " A 
knight and his betrothed were walking on the banks of the 
Danube, when the lady espied a bunch of the. Myosotris palus- 
tris (as this blossom is termed by Linnaeus) floating away 
down the stream ; and, expressing a wish to possess it, with 
chivalrous promptitude the mail-clad gallant plunged into the 
river and grasped the flower ; but, alas ! encumbered by the 
weight of his armour, he was unable to remount the slippery 
bank. Finding himself, despite all his exertions, sinking fast 
beneath the waters, with a last effort he flung the blossoms 
ashore to his agonized mistress, crying, ere he sank for ever, 
' Forget me not ! ' " 

With such a romantic tragedy attached to it, it is not to be 
wondered at that this little flower should have been inundated 
with poetical tributes. Gothe, in one of his melodious lyrics 
— the spirit of which Lord Francis Gower has well caught and 
translated into English- 

-addresses the forget-me-not as 

" Still the loveliest flower, 
The fairest of the fair 
Of all that deck my lady's bower, 
Or bind her floating hair." 

This flower recalls to mind another event connected with the 
days of chivalry, otherwise than the melancholyone fromwhichit 


takes its suggestive title. When Lord Scales, brother to Eliza- 
beth Woodville, wife of Edward IV., tilted against a French 
knight of Burgundy, the ladies of the Court playfully presented 
him with a collar of gold, brilliantly enamelled with these little 
blossoms, as a fitting reward for an English knight's emprise 
of arms either on horseback or on foot This historical in- 
cident proves the admiration in which this simple wild flower 
was held even in olden times. 

The forget-me-not flourishes in great luxuriance on the 
banks of a beautiful rivulet in the vicinity of Luxembourg ; 
and one particular portion of this stream, facing the sunny 
south, is known by the title of " The Fairies' Bath." Hither 
in the summer come the young city maidens to hold their 
merry meetings and dances upon tiie bloomy sward; and, 
should any modern Actaeon presume to peep through the 
leafy branches, he may behold them innocently diverting 
themselves by wreathing garlands of, and crowning each other 
with, the blue-petalled forget-me-nots that line the brooklet's 

In many parts of France this little flower is carefully culti- 
vated for transplantation to the city markets, where its ap- 
pealing looks readily procure purchasers for it. 

The following verses, entitled " Forget me not," appeared 
some few years ago : 

" Dear girl, I send this spray of flowers — 

All withered now, once brightest blue — 
To call to mind those happy hours, 

Those happy hours I pass'd with you. 
Forget me not ! though others win 

The glorious right to call thee ' theirs ; ' 
Forget me not ! fliat might have been 

The answer to my fervid prayers. 

" For I have had thy hand in mine. 

And once our ways in life seem'd blended ; 
And once I thought our loves might twine, 

But now, alas ! that dream is ended. 
Forget me not ! for I am lonely. 

And stranded on Life's desert shore ; 
Forget me not ! — I ask that only — 

For now our paths may meet no more. 
"Could I but think you don't forget. 

Though all my hopes of life should pensh, 
I 'd pass them by without regret, 

So that that thought I still might cherish. 

174 Forge t-me-no t. 

Forget me not ! 't is all I ask, 

And though thy hand may be another's, 
I '11 wear upon my face a mask 

Of smiles to hide the grief it covers. 

" Let, then, these wither'd flowers recall 
Kach broken link of Mem'ry's chain ; 
And from the Past's dim haimted hall 

Those happy hours bring back again. 
Forget rae not ! mine only love — 

Ah ! would indeed that you were minel 
Forget me not 1 my long-lost dove. 

In dreams my heart will beat next thine ! " 

John Ingram. 

" It is said," remarks Miss Pratt, in her " Flowers and their 
Associations," " that after the battle of Waterloo an immense 
quantity of forget-me-nots sprang up upon different parts of 
the soil, enriched by the blood of heroes. . . A poet might 
say," adds the lady, " that the appearance of such a flower in 
this memorable spot seemed to ask that we should not soon 
forget those who perished on the field." 

This little floral pet, which Coleridge aptly calls 

" That blue and bright-eyed flo w'ret of the brook, 
Hope's gentle gem, the sweet forget-me-not," 

is greatly beloved by the Germans, who are very fond of 
growing it upon the graves of their deceased darlings. When 
it is taken from its native brook, however, and planted in a 
dry situation, its looks alter considerably, but withal it con- 
tinues a pretty blossom. 

Tennyson, in his poem of the " Miller's Daughter," when he 
would " make a garland for the heart," asks Alice 

" To sing that other song I made, 
Half-anger'd with my happy lot, 
The day when in the chestnut shade 
I found the blue forget-me-not." 

And Alice sings, 

" Love that hath us in the net, " Love is hurt with jar and Iret, 
Can he pass, and we forget? Love is made a vague regret. 

Many suns arise and set. Eyes with idle tears are wet. 

Many a chance the years beget, Idle habit links us yet. 

Love the gift is love the debt. What is love ? for we forget ! 

Even so. Ah ! no, no ! " 

Agnes Strickland relates that Henry of Lancaster during 

Forget-me-not. 175 

his exile adopted this blossom as his emblem, with the motto 
Souveigne vous de moi. 

The following lines appeared in the " New Monthly Maga- 
zine " some years ago, and were addressed to a young lady, 
who, on the author handing her into a carriage, held out at 
the window a bouquet which he had presented to her, and 
which was chiefly composed of forget-me-nots : 

" I culled each flow'ret for my fair, 

The wild thyme and the heather bell > 
And romid them twined a tendril rare — 

She said the posy pleased her well. 
But of the flowers that deck the field, 

Or grace the garden of the cot, 
Tliough others richer perfumes yield. 

The sweetest is forget-me-not. 

' ■ We roamed the mead, we climbed the hill. 

We rambled o'er the breckan brae ; 
Tlie trees that crowned the mossy riU, 

They screened us from the glare of day. 
She said she loved the sylvan bower. 

Was charmed with ev'ry rural spot ; 
And when anived the parting hour. 

Her last words were 'forget me not I '" 

The subject more than the treatment of this simple lay has 
secured it a place in this floral casket ; but a brighter and 
more precious gem shall now be set herein. This pathetic 
and original poem, entitled " Can you forget me V was contri- 
buted to a contemporary annual by L. E. L. Although it 
does not especially mention the emblem of which this chapter 
treats, its appropriateness will assuredly be unquestioned 

"Can you forget me ? I, who have cherish'd 
The veriest trifle that was memory's link ; 
The roses that you gave me, although perish'd, 

Were precious in my sight ; they made me think 
You took them in their scentless beauty stooping. 

From the warm shelter of the garden wall : 
Autumn, while into languid Winter drooping. 
Gave its last blossoms, opening but to fall. 

Can you foi^et them ? 

" Can you forget me ? I am not relying 

On plighted vows — alas ! I know their worth. 
Man's faith to woman is a trifle, dying 
Upon the very breath that gave it birth. 

176 Forget-me-not. 

But I remember hours of quiet gladness, 

When if the heart had truth, it spoke it then, 

When thoughts would sometimes take a tone of sadness, 
And then unconsciously grow glad again. 

Can you forget them ? 

"There is no truth in love, whate'er its seeming, 

And heaven itself could scarcely seem more true ; 
Sadly have I awakened from the dreaming. 

Whose charmed slumber, false one, was of you. 
I gave mine inmost being to thy keeping, 

I had no thought I did not seek to share ; 
Feelings that hushed within my soul were sleeping, 
Waked into voice to trust them to thy care. 

Can you forget them 7 

" Can you forget me? This is vainly tasking 
The faithless heart where I, alas ! am not. 
Too well I know the idleness of asking — 

The misery — of why I am forgot ! 
The happy hours that I have pass'd while kneeling, 

Half-slave; half-child, to gaze upon thy face — 
But what to thee this passionate appealing ? 
Let my heart break — it is a common case. 

You liave forgotten me !" 




AN experienced florigraphist has styled the Apple-blossom 
the emblem of preference, because, not only is it a very 
lovely flower, but, as the predecessor of fine and useful fruit, 
it may be preferred to the rose itself The apple singly is 
deemed typical of temptation, undoubtedly from the curious 
legend which connects it with the first transgression and fall 
of man, a legend which figures alike in most of the ancient 
mythologies of which any vestiges are extant. Many believe 
the golden fruit of the Hesperides — 

" The fruits of blooming gold, 
Beyond the sounding ocean : the fair trees 
Of golden fruitage," 

the obtaining of which was one of the twelve labours appointed 
for Hercules — to have been nothing more than apples ; but 
modern opinion inclines to the idea that oranges were the 
dragon-guarded dainties. The Thebans worshipped Hercules 
under the name of Melius, and offered apples at his altars. 
This custom was said to have originated in the following 
manner : The river Asopus having on one occasion overflowed 
its banks to such an extent as to render it impossible to bring 
across it a sheep which was to be sacrificed to Hercules, some 
youths, recollecting that an apple bore the same name as a sheep 
-^^nielon — offered an apple, with four little sticks stuck in it to 
resemble legs, as a substitute for a sheep ; and after that period 
the pagans always considered the apple as especially devoted 
to Hercules. This tree was highly reverenced by the Druids, 
not only on account of its fruit, but, and chiefly, for the reason 
that they believed it and the oak were the only trees on which 
the mistletoe grew. In consequence of its reputed sanctity, 
therefore, the apple was largely cultivated by the earliest in- 

178 Apple-blossom. 

habitants of this island of whom any records exist ; and Glas- 
tonbury, that town so frequently alluded to in floral history, 
was known as the "apple-orchard," from the quantity of that— 
fruit grown there previous to the Roman invasion. 

Many ancient rites and ceremonies connected with this holy 
tree are still practised in different portions of the country. In 
certain parts of Devonshire, on Twelfth-night or Old Christ- 
mas-eve, the farmer, accompanied by his men, takes a large 
pitcher of cider into the orchard, and there, after reverently 
saluting some of the largest trees, they proceed to the one 
reputed to be the best bearer of fruit, and, encircling it, they 
raise their voices like the bards of yore, and as they dance 
round it, chant this toast three times : 

" Here 's to thee, old apple-tree ! 
Hence thou may'st bud, and whence thou may'st blow ! 
And whence thou may'st bear apples enow ! 

Hats full ! caps full ! 

Bushel, bushel, sacks full, 

And my pockets full too ! Hurra ! " 

Many country folks believe that if they neglected this custom 
— evidently a relic of paganism — the trees would bear no fruit 
during the ensuing year. 

In the Scandinavian mythology this tree played an impor- 
tant part. In the " Edda," the goddess Iduna is related to have 
had charge of the apples which had the power of conferring im- 
mortality, and which, in consequence of their miraculous pro- 
perty, were especially retained for the gods to eat when they 
felt themselves growing old. The evil spirit, Loke, carried off 
Iduna and the wonderful apple-tree, and hid them away in a 
forest where the deities were unable to find them. The results 
of this spiteful theft were that everything went wrong, both in 
the realms mundane and divine. The gods grew old and infirm, 
and, becoming enfeebled in mind and body, were no longer 
able to regulate the affairs of the earth ; and mortals, no longer 
having any one to look after them, fell into evil ways, and be- 
came a prey to the evil spirit. Affairs grew worse daily, until 
the gods, combining the remains of their strength, overcame 
Loke, and compelled him to restore the stolen apple-tree. 

Many curious customs connected with this fruit are fast 
dying out, and ere long will be talked of as relics of the past. 

Apple-blossom. 179 

Roasted apples formed an important item in the delicious 
compound which, under the title of wassail-bowl, was such a 
famed beverage with our ancestors. The ludicrous practice of 
"bobbing" for apples on Allhallow-e'en, on All Saints Day, 
and at other specified times, is nearly obsolete. Formerly, the 
first day of November was dedicated to the titular saint of 
fruit and seeds, and was called La Mas Ubhal; or the " day of 
the apple." This name being pronounced lamasool, got cor- 
rupted, says Vallance, into Lamb's Wool, the name given in 
some parts to a bowl of spiced ale containing roasted apples, 
and which is drunk on the last night in October. An ancient 
charm, practised by village maidens^ was, on a certain par- 
ticularized night, to take a candle knd go alone into a room, 
look into a looking-glass, and eat an apple in front of it, when 
she would behold in the glass the reflection of her husband to 
be, peeping over her shoulder. 

It was once usual for apples to be blessed by priests on the 
25th of July ; and in the manual of the church of Sarum is 
preserved an especial form for this purpose. 

The Romans highly valued this tree for its ornamental 
effect, deeming, and with justice, that the earliness and beauty 
of its blossoms, as also the brilliant hues of its fruit, rendered 
it a desirable addition to the splendour of their gardens. The 
author of the "Poetry of Gardening" pleads hard for their 
re-admission into the flower-garden, remarking truthfully that 
those who have seen the hanging orchards of Lanark, — 
" Clydesdale's apple-boweis," 

in the end of the merry month of May, or the tamer beauties 
of the cider counties of England, may well regret the edict of 
modern taste, that banishes such beautiful nosegays from the 
spring, because of their almost equal beauties in autumn. Surely 
we might, with the best effect, recall from the slovenly orchard, 
and the four unpoetical walls of the kitchen-garden some of 
those fruit-trees which graced the gardens of antiquity. 

L. E. L. did not overlook the beauty of the apple-blossom, 
as these lines testify : 

" Of all the months that fill the year. 
Give April's month to me. 
For earth and sky are then so filled 
With sweet variety ! 

12 — 2 


" Tlie apple-blossoms' shower of pearl. 
Though blent with rosier hue — 
As beautiful as woman's blush, 
As evanescent too. 

" On every bough there is a bud, 
In every bud a flower ; 
But scarcely bud or flower will last 
Beyond the present hour. 

' ' Now comes a shower cloud o'er the sky. 
Then all again sunshine ; 
Then clouds again, but brightened with 
The rainbow's coloured line. 

" ,Vy, this, this is the month for me ! 
I could not love a scene 
Where the blue sky was always blue. 
The green earth always green. " 



" A woven acanthus ^vreath divine." 


THE Acanthus is a native of hot countries, and, being un- 
able to endure the variableness of this climate, is only 
permitted entrance into this floral bouquet on account of its. 
classic and artistic associations. 

This elegant representative of the arts was a great favourite 
with the Greeks, who frequently made use of its graceful form 
for architectural and other ornamental purposes : as is well 
known, it makes the principal decoration of the Corinthian 
column ; the idea of which is reported by tradition — that un- 
wearied tattler — to have been suggested to Callimachus, a 
famous architect, by the accidental sight of a basket overgrown 
by acanthus with a tile on it. 

The story tells us that a basket containing some treasured 
relics, and covered with a tile, had been placed by mourning 
friends upon a young girl's grave, as a kind of memento mori; 
an acanthus plant grew up beneath the basket, and its leaves 
spread all round, but, impeded by the tile, curled gracefully 
back. The architect, passing by the tomb, was attracted by 
the elegance of the untrained decoration, and, having some 
columns to design for an ediiice in Corinth, imitated the form 
of the basket for the pillars, and formed the capitals in the 
manner of the curved acanthus. Thus, indeed, Vitruvius re- 
cords the legend. 

The discerning Greeks continually availed themselves of the 
"woven acanthus wreath," to adorn their buildings, their fur- 
niture, their ornaments, and even their clothes ; and in this 
they were subsequently imitated by their Roman conquerors, 
Theocritus, speaking of a pastoral prize cup, says, 

i8z Acanthus. 

" All about the cup a crust was raised 
Of soft acanthus. " 

Virgil very frequently alludes to this plant, and mentions it 
as forming the pattern embroidered on a mantle belonging to 
that immortal beauty, Helen of Troy ; elsewhere, the same 
author styles it "the smiling acanthus," and says it is one of 
those plants which the earth produces without culture. He 
likewise tells us that the handles of Alcimedon's cup were 
enwreathed with acanthus, and finally places it amongst the 
herbs and flowers that grew in the garden of an acquaintance 
of his, "An old Corycian swain . . . lord of few acres, and 
those barren too," but which, by dint of hard labour, the 
worthy ancient turned into a perfect terrestrial Paradise. Right 
well has this plant been chosen as an emblem of the arts, for, 
like Genius their creator, the more obstacles that are placed 
in its way, the more vigorously does it grow, and the more 
gracefully do its leaves curve, as if exalted and invigorated by 
the opposition which it encounters. 

Evening Primrose. 


"Love us as emblems, night's dewy flowers." 

Mrs. Hemans. 

THE Evening Primrose, emblematic of silent love, does not 
unclose her cup of paly gold until her lowly sisters are 
rocked into a balmy slumber, and until 

" The moon 
Lifts up Night's curtains, and with visage mild 
Smiles on the beauteous Earth, her sleeping child." 

This pallid yellow blossom and her favourite midnight haunts 
are thus interestingly described in a botanical paper of an old 
number of the " Family Friend," and the description is too 
pretty to be deemed inappropriate to our purpose : " She loves 
to look the pale moon in the face, and often in the witching 
hour of deep midnight, when stars keep their watch on high, 
you may see the hospitable plant surrounded by such insects 
as avoid the light of day — warmly-coated moths, and beetles 
of various kinds, which resort to her for their nightly banquet. 
Associated with much poetry and many legends, this favourite 
flower grows luxuriantly, and attains to the height of several 
feet in a wild part of the Vale of Clwyd, on the roadside 
between Denbigh and Ruthin, as also in many sites of his- 
toric interest in various parts of Britain . . . but nowhere so 
abundantly as in the Vale of Clwyd, with its rushing stream, 
and trees swaying in the wind, discovering, as the branches 
wave and bend, the tower of old Ruthven in the clear cold 
moonbeams. Those towers look well when seen from the lone 
spot where grows the evening primrose : time has laid them 

184 Evening Primrose. 

waste, and the halls are roofless. . . . Here, then, in one of the 
wildest parts of Denbighshire, the evening primrose unfolds 
her large and fragrant flowers. Often, too, when the nights 
are dark, and not the slightest breath of air is stirring, her 
petals emit a mild phosphoric light, and look as illuminated 
for a holiday. Every part is consequently rendered visible ; 
and he who does not fear to be out in her wild and lonely 
growing-place, may see a variety of nocturnal ephemera and 
insects hovering around the lighted petals or sipping at the 
vegetable fountains, while others rest among the branches, or 
hurry up the stems as if fearing to be too late. The phos- 
phorescent light thus kindled answers, without doubt, the pur- 
pose of a lamp, to guide the steps or flight of innumerable 
living creatures that love the night; and this is the more 
essential, because flowers of all kinds are generally closed." 

The evening primrose is dedicated by Roman Catholics to 
St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal. It has not elicited so many 
poetical addresses as its sister of the day, yet has not been 
quite overlooked. Keats mused thus on 

" A tuft of evening primroses, 

0"er which the mind may hover till it dozes; 
O'er which it well might take a pleasant sleep, 
But that 't is ever startled by the leap 
Of buds into ripe flowers.'' 

In these lines the observant poet has alluded to a singular 
floral phenomenon appertaining to this plant. The petals of 
its flower open in a remarkable way. The upper extremities 
of the calyx are furnished with little hooks, by means of which 
the blossom is held together before expansion. The divisions 
of the calyx, or cup, open gradually at the lower part, and 
show the yellow flower, which continues for some time closed 
at the upper part, by the hooks. The blossom suddenly ex- 
pands about half-way, and then stops ; then gradually dilates, 
until finally it completes its expansion with a violent explosion. 
Half an hour is sometimes required to complete this singular 
operation, which may be witnessed any summer evening, about 
six o'clock being the general time of the flower's opening ; and 
soil and weather permitting, its periodic movements vary very 
slightly. It has a faint agreeable odour, which is alluded to 
in these lines: 

Evening Primrose. 185 

" Let every pale night-scented flower, 
Sad emblem of passion forlorn, 
Resign its appropriate hour 

To enhance the rich breath of the mom. 

" All that art or that nature can find, 
Not half so delightfiil would prove. 
Nor their sweets altogether combined 
Half so sweet as the breath of my love. " 

The large-flowered evening primrose, typical of inconstancy^ 
is a native of Virginia. Notwithstanding its unstable character, 
it is a great favourite with florists. 




"The bees on the bells of thyme.' 


"TD UN-PROVOKING Thyme;' as Shenstone wittily calls 
JL this herb of classic fame, has been made the symbol of 
activity, because its fragrant flowers are ever busy with " the 
murmuring hum of innumerable bees." In his poem of " The 
Bees," Rucellai even goes so far as to say that " Nature made 
it on purpose for them to make honey of." 

In the days of chivalry, when activity was deemed almost 
as desirable a quality as courage, ladies were accustomed to 
embroider their knightly lovers' scarves with the figure of a 
bee hovering about a sprig of thyme, a gentle hint that those 
who would enjoy the sweets of love should not neglect the 
constant attentions which it demands. 

The fragrance of thyme is proverbial, and a stroll in the 
morning over 

"Airy downs and gentle hills, 
O'er grass with thyme bespread," 

causes the delicious odours to rise round one in clouds of per- 
fume, and makes one no longer wonder that the Fairy King's 
musical hounds should forsake the richest garden blooms, in 
order to hunt for the golden dew in the flowery tufts of thyme. 
Well may Armstrong direct those in search of health to spots 

"Thyme, the loved of bees, perfumes the air.'' 

How invigorating to ramble across fields begemmed and 
odoriferous with the crisp elastic tufts of this bonnie plant ! or. 

Thyme. 187 

in the sunny summer-time, to recline upon some such scented 
"bank whereon the wild thyme blows" as Shakspeare wist of! 
When the Greeks wished especially to compliment an author 
upon the Attic elegance of his style, they said it "smelt of 
thyme," because the aromatic flavour of their honey, of which 
they were so fond, was said to be produced by the bees that 
had fed upon that herb, with which Mount Hymettus was 

Wild thyme still grows in richest profusion over the hills 
and glens of Greece. 

When Shelley wished to portray the magical effects of Pan's 
music upon surrounding nature, he could not have made the 
god utter anything more expressive than that 

" The bees on the bells of thyme 
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was, 
Listening to my sweet pipings. " 

Lord Bacon appears to have entertained a great fondness 
for the fragrance of these delicious herbs, and, in his exquisite 
" Essay on Gardening," bids us " set whole alleys of them, to 
have the pleasure, when you walk or tread," of inhaling the 
perfume which your foot crushes out of their bloom. And 
again, he remarks, " I like also little heaps in the nature of 
mole-hills (such as are in wild heaths) to be set with wild 

Lemon Thyme, although preferable for culinary purposes, is 
not so odoriferous as the uncultivated kind. 




" The cypress is the emblem of mourning." 


IN every country and from the earliest ages the Cypress has 
been ever deemed the emblem of mourning; and the 
reason is not difficult to imagine. Where the gloomy foliage 
of this doleful-looking tree meets the view, that sympathetic 
bond which unites man with nature excites melancholy feel- 
ings, and makes the beholder intuitively aware that the sombre 
shadows trailing round these impenetrable branches are really 
associated with the saddening thoughts he entertains. 

No one can be surprised that our earliest ancestors selected 
so doleful a looking tree to symbolize their grief, or even that 
it is still used as a funereal sign. Ancient writers, ever ready 
to seize upon and convert to their own purposes the peculi- 
arities of nature, were not long in fashioning a pretty fable 
to account for the dismal hue of the cypress. According to 
Ovid, this tree was named after Cyparissus, an especial favourite 
of Apollo. This feeling youth, having accidentally slain his 
darling stag, was so sorrow-stricken that he besought the gods 
to doom his life to everlasting gloom ; and they, in compliance 
with his request, transformed him into a cypress-tree. 

" When, lost in tears, the blood his veins forsakes. 
His every limb a grassy hue partakes; 
His flowing tresses, stiff and bushy grown, 
Point to the stars, and taper to a cone. 
Apollo thus: 'Ah! youth, beloved in vain, 
Long shall thy boughs the gloom I feel retain : 
Henceforth, when mourners grieve, their grief to share, 
Kniblem of woe the cypress shall be there." 

Cypress. 1 8g 

And emblem of woe the tree has been ever since. Lucan tells 
us of 

"The cypress by the noble mourner worn." 

Virgil invariably introduces it into the burial rites of his 
heroes ; he describes " the sweet cypress " as " sign of deadly 
bale." Tasso, who also designated this tree "the funereal 
cypress," remarks that at Dudon's burial, 

" Of cypress sad a pile his friends compose, 
Under a hill o'ergrown with cedars tall ; 
Beside the hearse a fruitftil palm-tree grows 

(Ennobled since by this great funeral). 
Where Dudon's corpse they softly laid in ground. " 

Statins also alludes to its being thus used at burials ; and in 
the Italian Arcadia, the shepherd bids his friend perform the 
last pious offices for him, and " make me a tomb amongst 
cypresses." Spenser, lamenting the loss of Sir Philip Sidney, 

" Instead of garlands, wear sad cypress now; " 

and again, in his " Faerie Queen," amongst other gloomy 
emblems, he says, 

" There moumfiil cypress grew.'' 

Shakspeare several times alludes to its ominous character ; 
and in the Second Part of " Henry VI.," the Earl of Suffolk, 
when invoking curses upon his enemies, would have 

" Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress-trees.'' 

Cowley, in his lines to the memory of Mrs. Hervey, refers 
to its m3^ological origin as well as its inauspicious reputation. 

In turning to modern poets, one finds no lack of references 
to the melancholy omen of this tree. Sir Walter Scott leads 
the sad procession with a doleful song : 

" O lady, twine no wreath for me, 
Or twine it of the cypress- tree." 

Byron beautifully terms it that 

" Dark tree ! still sad when other's grief is fled, 
The only constant mourner o'er the dead." 

Robert Montgomery deemed its associations too sombre 
even for death : 


" And oft the living, by aflfection kd, 
Were wont to walk in spirit with their dead, 
Where no dark cypress cast a doleful gloom, 
Nor blighting yew shed poison o'er the tomb ; 
But, white and red with intermingling flowers. 
Green myrtle fenced it, and beyond their bound 
Ran the clear rill with ever-murmuring sound." 

Shelley does not overlook the melancholy customs connected 
with the cypress, and makes us dread the fate of that unwept, 
lovely youth whom no mourning maidens decked 

" With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath. 
The lone couch, of his everlasting sleep." 

Last, but not least of the tuneful quire who hang their votive 
wreaths upon the dark urn of the buried Past, is Eliza Cook, 
and in her thoroughly symbolic poem of " The Wreaths," she 
enters thus poetically into the typical spirit of this funereal 
plant : 

"Who wears the cypress, dark and drear? 
The one who is shedding the mourner's tear : 
The gloomy branch for ever twines 
Round foreheads graved with Sorrow's lines. 
'T is the type of a sad and lonely heart. 
That hath seen its deai'est hopes depart. 
Oh ! who can like the chaplet band 
That is wove by Melancholy's hand?" 

By the Greeks and Romans the cypress was consecrated to 
the Fates, the Furies, to Pluto and Proserpine, and was planted 
by them around graves. 

The tree still retains its melancholy interest, and as a ceme- 
tery decoration is yet used in all countries pretending to civiliza- 
tion. In Mahommedan " Cities of the Deatl," as they poetically 
style their places of burial, the cypress is ever prominent, and 
is frequently planted not only at the head and foot, but often 
upon the grave itself Large groves of these trees are care- 
fully cultivated, in order to supply mourners with them when 
required. Even in Japan the cypress expresses a similar 
sombre idea as with Europeans, and the native churches there 
are said to be generally surrounded by alleys of cypresses. 

When death was in the dwelling, the ancients were accus- 
tomed to place cypress either before the house or in the 
vestibule, so that no person about to perform any sacred rites 

CypREis. 191 

might enter a place polluted with a dead body. It has beea 
stated that the cypress was selected for these melancholy 
occasions, because this tree, being once cut down, never springs 
up again ; but, as Evelyn very justly observes, this view would 
render it an improper emblem for a Christian country. " The 
use of evergreens," he remarks, " is yet not uncommon amongst 
us ; but they are supposed to be significant of immortality, at 
the same time that their balsamic scent guards the attendants 
against the infection to be apprehended." 

It has been noticed by a distinguished floral writer, that 
those various plants used upon these sad occasions are almost 
invariably fragrant and powerful, although not always sweet- 
scented, as for instance, yew, rosemary, basil, and others. 

The fragrance of the cypress is an old theme with the poets 
— those illustrators of all natural secrets. Homer alludes to 
this pleasant odour, when in the fifth book of his " Odyssey" 
he describes the cave of Calypso ; and Theocritus talks of 
" odorous cypresses." Virgil, and other later poets, repeatedly 
call it " the sweet cypress." The balsamic scent of its timber 
formerly caused it to be held in great repute, and chips of it 
were, as Evelyn remarks, frequently used to flavour wine with. 
Miller says, " This tree is recommended by many learned 
authors for the improvement of the air, and as a specific for 
the lungs, as sending forth quantities of aromatic scents ; 
wherefore many of the ancient physicians of the Eastern 
countries used to send their patients who were troubled 
with weak lungs to the island of Candia, which at that time 
abounded with these trees." 

This island is yet famous for its cypresses, and there, as 
also in Malta, they are much used for buildings — a purpose 
for which their marvellous durability eminently fits them. 
The bridge built by Semiramis over the Euphrates was of this 
wood ; and so satisfied was Plato with its hardness and im- 
perishableness, that he had the laws engraved upon tablets ot 
cypress in preference to brass itself Pliny relates that the 
statue of Jupiter in the Capitol, made of this wood in the 
year of Rome 661, was sound in his time ; whilst, in proof of 
the immense age which the tree attains, he says that some 
then in Rome were more ancient than the city itself Several 
fine lofty cypresses are said to be still growing in the gardens 

192 Cypress. 

of a palace in Grenada, that were large trees in the reign of 
Ardeli, the last Moorish monarch in Spain. These famous 
trees are known as Los Cypresses de la Reina Sultana, or the 
Queen's Cypresses, because under their shade the slandered 
princess was accused of having entertained her lover, Aben- 

Evelyn goes into a long description of the manifold purposes 
to which the seeming imperishable wood of this tree has been 
put. " It was used for harps and divers other musical instru- 
ments," he remarks, " it being a sonorous wood, and therefore 
employed for organ-pipes; resisting the worm, moth, and all 
putrefaction to eternity. What the uses of this timber are," 
he adds, " the Venetians sufficiently understood, who did every 
twentieth year, and oftener (the Romans every thirteenth), 
make a considerable revenue of it out of Candy ; and certainly 
a very gainful commodity it was, when the fell of a plantation 
of cypresses was reputed a good portion for a daughter, and 
the plantation itself called Das filice. But there was in Candy 
a vast wood of these trees belonging to the Republic, by malice 
or accident, or perhaps by solar heat, set on fire, which — 
beginning anno 1400 — continued burning for seven years before 
it could be extinguished, being fed for so long a space by the 
unctuous nature of the timber. .... Formerly the valves of 
St. Peter's Church were formed of this material, which lasted 
from the great Constantine to Pope Eugenius IV.'s time — 
eleven hundred years — and then were found as fresh and entire 
as if they had been new. But this Pope would needs change 
them for gates of brass, which were cast by the famous Antonio 
Philarete: not, in my opinion, so venerable as those of cypress." 

Thucydides states that the Athenians buried their heroes 
in coffins of this wood ; whilst the apparently indestructible 
chests in which the Egyptians placed their mummies are of the 
same material, and they have doubtless lain in their resting- 
places for thousands of years. Vitruvius and Martial have 
celebrated the durability and beauty of this timber : the wild 
cypress especially was admired for this latter quality ; its roots 
were deemed incomparable for their crisped undulations. It 
was in great request amongst the Romans for beds and tables 
and, as such, Lucan is supposed to have alluded to it in his 
■" Pharsalia." 

Cypress. 193 

It has been observed that no other tree blends so well with 
stone buildings. Byron tells of 

"The cypress saddening by the sacred mosques;" 

and Dallaway describes the Seraglio at Constantinople, as 
encircled with embattled walls, with its domes and kiosques 
clustered in splendid confusion, and intermixed with gigantic 
cypresses, rising in the sea from an elevation which Nature 
seems to have intended for the seat of dominion over the whole 

Homer and Virgil frequently refer to the wood of this tree 
being used for building purposes ; and they, and many other 
ancient and modern poets, allude to its pyramidal form, but 
none more beautifully than Shelley : 

"Thence to a lonely dwelling, where the shore 
Is shadowed with steep roclcs, and cypresses 
Cleave with their darli green cones the silent skies, 
And with their shadows the clear depths below." 

Kirchmann says that its use amongst the ancients was a 
sign that the house was funesta, or afflicted with death, for 
the reason that slips from it will not grow ; whilst Horace 
observes that of all the trees you plant, none will follow its 
brief master but the hated cypress. Evelyn desires his readers 
not to " despair of the resurrection of a cypress subverted by 
the wind, for some have redressed themselves ; and one (as 
Tiphilinus mentions) rose the next day, which happening 
about the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, was esteemed a 
happy omen 1 " 


St. John's Wort. 


" I must gather the mystic St. John's wort to-night. 
The wonderful herb whose leaf will decide 
If the coming year shall make me a bride." 

From the German. 

THIS bright yellow blossom, with its glittering golden 
stamens, is very well known by its generic name of hype- 
ricum, but as the floral symbol of superstition, its old English 
appellation of St. Johns wort seems most appropriate. In the 
earliest records of the wonderful properties assigned to this 
world-renowned emblem, it is styled fuga d<2monum, or devil's 
flight, because the virtue was ascribed to it of frightening away 
"auld Hornie," and all his mischievous crew, of defending 
folks from spectres, and of generally putting all evil-disposed 
apparitions to the rout. " For the same reason," says one 
florigraphical authority, " it was also called sol terristris, or the 
' terrestrial sun,' because the spirits of darkness were believed 
to vanish at the approach of that luminary." To the peasantry 
of France, and of the less educated countries of Germany, this 
flower is still endowed with marvellous qualitieaj and on the 
nativity of St. John the Baptist — that is to say, oh the 24th of 
June — it is customary for the villagers to gather and hang over 
the cottage doors and windows some of these blossoms, in the 
belief that its sanctity will deter malevolent spirits from en- 
tering the abode, and will also propitiate their patron saint in 
favour of the inmates. 

In Scotland this plant is still carried about as a charm 
against witchcraft and enchantment ; and in some out-of-the- 
way parts the people fancy that it cures ropy milk, which, 
they suppose, is under some malignant influence. Sir Walter 
Scutt's ballad, " The Eve of Saint John," is a good illustration 

St. JoHirs Wort. 195 

of the strong superstitious feeling with which this noted day- 
was formerly regarded. 

Miss Pratt, in one of her charming botanical works, alluding 
to the customs yet practised upon St. John's Day, remarks 
that " in Lorraine no persuasions will induce the peasant to 
cut down his grass until the arrival of this day, however the 
sun may have prepared it for the scythe ; while it matters not 
that the season be retarded, no event is allowed to delay the 
Commencement of haying at this period." 

It is generally believed in the Levant that on the anniver- 
sary of this sacred day the plague will disappear from the 
country, and more than one sad disappointment has not served 
to eradicate the persuasion from the Greek mind. 

In many continental places rural festivities and customs, 
similar to those practised on Allhallow's-eve by the Scotch, 
are celebrated on this day. So wide-spread and deep-rooted 
a superstition as is this undoubtedly points to a very ancient 
but common origin — one, indeed, far older than that supposed 
by Miss Pratt, who deems these practices were founded on a 
strange misapprehension of the Scriptural words which likened 
St. John to a burning and shining light. That lady, in support 
of her theory, instances the blazing bonfires which — ^like those 
of ,Baal — were formerly built upon the vigil of the saint, and 
round which danced youths and maidens, wreathed with ver- 
vain and St. John's wort — as even were the Druidic worshippers 
of times long anterior — bunches of which symbolic flowers 
they flung into the flames, at the same time that they fer- 
vently invoked St. John, and besought Heaven to render the 
coming year more bountiful with good gifts, and more sparing 
of sorrows, than the one departing had been. " In London," 
Miss Pratt remarks, " in addition to the bonfires, the festival 
was signified by every man's door being shaded with green 
birch, long fennel, St. John's wort, orpine, white lilies, and other 
typical plants, and ornamented with garlands of beautiful 

Another remarkable quality ascribed to this plant by our 
ancestors was the power it possessed of curing all sorts of 
wounds, and in this belief, doubtless, originated its name of 
tutsan, an evident corruption of its French cognomen, la toute 
same, or all-heal. The common perforated St. John's wort was 

196 St. John's Wort. 

also formerly called "the balm of the warrior's wound," and 
"the herb of war," in allusion not merely to its presumed 
healing powers, but also to the little dots on the leaves, which 
look like small holes. As the poet sings, 

" Hypericum was there, the herb of war, 
Pierced through with wounds, and marlced with many a scar." 

The utility of this plant in the cure of wounds was not alto- 
gether imaginary, and although more powerful agents have now 
taken its place, it is still used in some medicines on account of 
its balsamic qualities, and its flowers still supply a fine purple 
dye with which oils and spirits are coloured. 

The authoress of " Flora Domestica " says that, as the 
flowers rubbed between the fingers yield a red juice, the plant 
has also been styled amongst fanciful medical writers sanguis 
hominis, or human blood. Some species of the hypericum are 
noted for their remarkable fulness of blossom, and as such 
they have obtained the notice of Cowper : 

" Hypericum, all bloom, so thick a swarm 
Of flowers, like flies, clothing its slender rods, 
That scarce a leaf appears." 

After this profusion of blossom has died away, the plant 
bears a number of reddish-tinted berries, with an odour which 
has been aptly compared to that of rosin. 


Marvel of Peru. 


" As sacred as the light 
She fears to perfume, perfuming the night." 

Edgar A. Poe. 

THE helle of the night, as the gallant French have prettily 
named this sweet emblem of bashful love, was christened 
the Marvel of Peru, because of the wonderful diversity of 
colours in the flowers ; although Rousseau, in his " Letters on 
Botany," avers that it obtained this attractive title from the 
fact that when it was first brought over from the New World, 
as people were then fond of designating America, everything 
was represented as marvellous. " Strange stories," he remarks, 
" were related of the plants and animals they met with ; and 
those which were sent to Europe had pompous names given 
to them. One of these is the marvel of Peru, the only wonder 
of which," he remarks, " is the variety of colours in the flower." 
Despite the sneers of J. J., this night beauty has other claims 
upon our admiration besides the astonishing variation of its 
colours — a variation, however, that of itself is anything but 
contemptible ; for frequently from the same roots may be seen 

" Changing from the splendid rose, 
To the pale violet's dejected hue." 

But what renders this bashful little floral gem a favourite 
flower, especially in England, is the fact that it is one of those 
"plants which wake when others sleep," of which only a very 
few retain their nocturnal watchfulness in these colder climes, 
whatever may be their habits in their native tropics. Rare, 
indeed, amongst us, are those plants of which the poet sings : 

198 Marvel of Peru- 

" Thy flower, her vigil lone hath kept 

Witli Love's untiring care ; 
lliough round her pinks and violets slept, 
She wakefully hath watch'd, and virept 

Unto the dewy air." 

This true marvel is really one of those flowers which, alone 
and unobserved, in maidenly shame, seem to wait for the veil 
of night ere they give way to their feelings and exhale them 
in sweet aromas. They are, indeed, those timid blooms of 
night which weep for joy when 

" Soft incense, such 
As steals from herbs 'midst pleasant fields in June, 
Freights the night air." 

The ordinary marvel of Peru bedecks itself with a profusion 
of gay blossoms, which it continually replenishes, in mild 
seasons retaining its beauty from the beginning of J uly to the 
end of October. In warm weather the flowers do not unclose 
till the evening ; but when the days are cooler, and the suii 
obscured, the timid little blooms keep open the whole day. 

The Forked Marvel is a native of Mexico, and its blossoms, 
which are smaller than those of the other varieties, do not vary 
in their colour, which is a purple red. It is known in America 
as the " four-o'clock flower," because of the flower's opening at 
that time of the day. 

The sweet-scented varieties of these flowers have white 
blossoms, and they, as do the other kinds, remain closed during 
the day, and keep 

" Their odour to themselves all day. 
But when the sunlight dies away. 
Let the delicious secret out 
To every breeze that roams about.'' 

The odour of these flowers, however, is not admired by 
every one, since it is of musk, to which many have a decided 

Mrs. Hemans has left us debtors for the following exquisite 
discourse with " Night-scented Flowers : " 

" Call back your odours, lonely flowers, 
From the night-wind call them back ; 
And fold your leaves till the laughing hours 
Come forth in the sunbeam's track. 

Marvel of Peru. 199 

" The lark lies couched in her grassy nest, 
And the honey-bee is gone, 
And all bright things are away to rest ; 
Why watch ye here alone? 

" Nay, let our shadowy beauty bloom 
When the stars give quiet light. 
And let us offer our faint perfume 
On the silent shiineuof night. 

" Call it not wasted, the scent we lend 
To the breeze when no step is nigh : 
Oh ! thus for ever the earth should send 
Her grateful breath on high ! 

"And love us as emblems, night's dewy flowers, 
Of hopes unto sorrow given, 
That spring through the gloom of the darkest hours, 
Looking alone to heaven." 

Phillips has observed that however timid these flowers may 
appear in the sunshine, at eventide they endure the strongest 
artificial light as unrepiningly as other belles who "shine at the 
same hour with this emblem of timidity." 

Had he been acquainted with its symbolism, what comfort- 
ing aid could not this little garden blossom have afforded the 
bashful lover of whom Gerald Massey sweetly sings : 

" Yet she weeteth not I love her ; 
Never dare I tell the sweet 
Tale but to the stars above her, 
And the flowers that kiss her feet." 




" There 's rosemary for you : that's for remembrance." 


NUMBERLESS quotations from our older poets might 
be given to prove that our forefathers invariably adopted 
Rosemary as the symbol of remembrajice ; and as it was once 
believed to possess the power of improving the memory, and 
was frequently employed as a means of invigorating the mental 
faculties, it is presumed, and with some show of probability, that 
it thus became the emblem of that quality with which it was 
so frequently associated. Perdita, in the "Winter's Tale," 
says : 

" For you there 's rosemary and rue ; these keep 
Seeming and savour all the winter long : 
Grace and remembrance be with you both ! " 

And then, in ITamlet, as if determined to prove his acquaint- 
ance with floral symbolism, Shakspeare makes Ophelia say : 

"There 's rosemary for you : that 's for remembrance. 
Pray you, love, remember." 

Michael Drayton, in his "Pastorals," also alludes to this 
emblem in similar terms : 

" He from his lass him lavender hath sent. 
Showing her love, and doth requital crave ; 
Him rosemary his sweetheart, whose intent 
Is that he her should in remembrance have." 

Highly esteemed as this plant was because of its being consi- 
dered " a comforter of the brain," and a strengthener of mental 
faculties — and for the^e reasons deemed typical of that fidelity 
and devotion to the gentler sex which is presumed to have 
been a prominent characteristic of the days of chivalry — rose- 


mary was also still more prized as a decoration at bridals and 
other domestic occasions. It was worn at weddings, remarks 
Miss Kent, to signify the fidelity of the lovers. 

"Will I be wed this morning, 
Thou shall not be there, nor once be graced with 
A piece of roseniaiy," 

remarks one of the characters in "Ram Alley;" and in the 
" Noble Spanish Soldier " we read : 

" I meet few but are stuck with rosemary: every 
One asked me who was to be married." 

It is not only from the pages of poets and literary men 
generally, however, that these allusions may be culled. Ro- 
bert Racket, a whilom celebrated doctor of divinity, in a 
sermon, which was published in 1607, under the title of "A 
Marriage Present," thus expatiates upon the powers of rose- 
mary : " It overtoppeth," he says, " all the flowers in the garden 
boasting man's rule. It helpeth the brain, strengtheneth the 
memorie, and is very medicinable for the head. Another 
pro.perty of the rosemary is, it affects the heart. Let this 
rosmarinus, this flower of men, ensign of your wisdom, love, 
and loyaltie, be carried, not only in your hands, but in your 
hearts and heads." 

Rosmarinus, as this plant is botanically styled, signifies the 
" dew of the sea," and is so called because of its fondness for 
the sea-beat shores, whence its perfume often greets the mariner 
as he sails by. Formerly the plant was styled Rosmarifuim 
coronariuin ; "that is to say," observes Lyte, "rosemarie where- 
of they make crowns and garlands." Frequently, entwined 
with laurel and myrtle, rosemary was formed into chaplets, 
with which the principal personages at feasts were crowned. 
In his "Garden of Flowers," Parkinson, after recounting the 
numerous symbolic and other uses to which bay-leaves are put, 
remarks that "Rosemary is almost of as great use as bayes, 
as well for civil as physical purposes ; for civil uses, as all doe 
know, at weddings, funerals, &c., to bestow among friends." 

Respecting its employment at funerals, Mr. Martyn observes 
that in some parts of England, in his time, it was still cus- 
tomary to distribute it among the company, who frequently 
threw sprigs of it into the grave. Slips of it were also some- 


times placed within the coffin ; and in some secluded villages 
these innocent customs are still practised. This plant is like- 
wise often planted near or upon graves, to which practice 
Kirke White thus mournfully refers : 

" Come, funeral flower ! who lovest to dwell 
With the pale corse in lonely tomb, 
And throw across the desert gloom 

A sweet decaying smell ; 
Come, press my lips, and lie with me 
Beneath the lowly alder-tree, 

And we will sleep a pleasant sleep. 
And not a care shall dare intrude. 
To break the marble solitude, 

So peaceful and so deep." 

Moore parallels not only this funereal imagery, but also alludes 
to its perfuming the desert gloom : 

" The humble rosemary. 
Whose sweets so thanklessly are shed 
To scent the desert and the dead." 

In the days of yore, rosemary was in great request at Christ- 
mas-tide for decorative purposes : the roast beef was crested 
with bays and rosemary; the flaming tankards were flavoured 
with sprigs of it, and the liquor stirred with it, in order, as our 
ancestors fancied, to improve its flavour. One of the mummers 
attendant upon Father Christmas, who personated New Year's 
Gift, was represented by a man wearing a blue coat, and hold- 
ing in his hand a sprig of rosemary. The silvery leaves of 
this plant mingled well with the glossy holly and yellow-green 
mistletoe, in decking rooms and churches. Herrick alludes to 
all these evergreens in the following lines, as also to the custom 
of replacing them, after a certain time, by others typical of 
festivals occurring later in the year : 

" Down with the rosemary, and so 
Down with the bales and mistletoe ; 
Down with the holly, ivy, all 
Wherewith ye deck the Christmas hall ; 
No one least branch leave there behind. 
For look how many leaves there be 
Neglected there — maids, 'tend to me — 
So many goblins ye shall see." 

The common rosemary is supposed to have been introduced 
into England by the monks, in the gardens of whose monas- 

Rosemary 203 

teries it occupied, on account of its presumed curative powers, 
a respected position, and received constant care. It was con- 
sidered very ornamental, and its silvery foliage was a favourite 
decoration of the garden walls. In Queen Elizabeth's time 
it grew all over the walls of the gardens at Hampton Court 
Palace ; but now is banished from the flower to the kitctien- 
garden, and there, indeed, lingers half-neglected. Shenstone 
thus expresses his indignation at the disrespect paid to rose- 
mary in modern times : 

" And here, trim rosemarine, that whilom crowii'd 
The daintiest garden of the proudest peer, 
Ere, driven from its envied site, it found 
A sacred shelter for its branches here. 
Where, edged with gold, its glittering skirts appear. 
Oh, wassail days ! Oh, customs meet and well ! 

Ere this was banished from its lofty sphere : 
Simplicity then sought this humble cell. 
Nor ever would she more with thane and lordling dwell. " 

It is a common saying now-a-days, that " in those gardens 
where the rosemary flourishes the lady rules the roast," or, in 
other words, " the grey mare is the better horse of the twain." 

This plant is often cultivated in cottage-gardens for the 
bees to resort to, the honey which they extract from it being 
considered very excellent. The far-famed honey of Narbonne 
is said to derive its superiority from the abundance of rose- 
mary-bushes in the neighbourhood. The Narbonne almost 
equals in fame that of Mount Ida, of which Jupiter was so fond. 







" How good the God of harvest is to you, 

Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields." 


CORN, which is the generic name applied to all kinds of 
grain suitable for food, is found in nearly every portion 
of the globe, and yet botanists assure us that it is nowhere to 
be found in its primitive state, or that any of the various plants 
which, under the term of cerealia, are comprehended in this 
precious family, will flourish without culture. 

Corn, more particularly wheat, is the most valuable of all 
natural productions ; and the country whose soil bears plen- 
teous crops of this in-every-way appropriate symbol of abun- 
dance, can afford to disregard the pretensions of all rival nations 
which found their claims to wealth merely upon the strength 
of their mineral riches. 

Ceres was the Goddess of Corn, as indeed her name signifies. 
*She was usually represented as a beautiful woman, crowned 
with ears of corn, a wheatsheaf at her side, and the Cornucopia, 
or horn of plenty, in her hand. In commemoration of the 
sbJuction of her daughter Proserpine by Pluto, a festival was 
annually held about the beginning of harvest, and another 
celebration in remembrance of the search for her at the time 
of sowing the corn. During the search of Ceres for her 
daughter, the earth was left quite uncultivated; but on her 
return she gave instructions to her favourite, Triptolemus, how 
to cultivate the ground and superintend corn and harvests. 
Ovid thus describes the affair in his " Metamorphoses :" 

" She halts at Athens, dropping like a star, 
And to Triptolemus resigns her car. 
Parent of seed, she gave him fruitful grain, 
And bade him teach to till and plough the main ; 
The seed to sow, as well in fallow fields, 
As where tlie soil manured a richer harvest yields." 

Corn. 205 

The matchless wealth of ancient Egypt is supposed to have 
arisen from its corn. It may be learnt, from the interesting 
history of Joseph, as well as from the narrative of the ten 
plagues, how famous Egypt was in those days for its wheat. 
Some, indeed, believe that country to have been the parent of 
this species of grain, and certainly the earliest historic allusions 
to it are in connection with that land, whence, it is conjectured, 
it spread along the shores of the Mediterranean. Under the 
wise administration of Joseph, Egypt was able to supply neigh- 
bouring nations, in a time of wide-spread famine, with the re- 
quisite corn, and in later ages served as a vast granary for the 
Roman and Eastern empires. The belief that their subjects 
would not be able to subsist without Egyptian grain is said 
to have induced the Roman emperors to protect the Nile's 
fruitful home. This same river, however, which enabled Egypt 
to feed Rome and Constantinople, the then two most populous 
cities in the world, sometimes reduced its own inhabitants to 
the direst extremities ; and, as it has been remarked, it is 
astonishing that the wise foresight which, in fruitful years, 
had made provision for seasons of sterility, should not have 
taught the wise politicians to adopt similar precautions against 
the contingency of the failure of the Nile. Pliny, in his eulogy 
on the Emperor Trajan, paints in glowing but undoubtedly 
exaggerated colours, not merely the extremity to which Egypt 
was reduced by a famine in the reign of that prince, but also 
the magnificent help which he rendered it. " The Egyptians," 
says this Latin author, " who gloried that they needed neither 
sun nor rain to produce their corn, and who believed they might 
confidently contest the prize of plenty with the most fruitful 
countries of the world, were condemned to an unexpected 
drought and a fatal sterility, from the greater part of their 
territories being deserted and left unwatered by the Nile, 
whose inundation is the source and standard of their abun- 
dance. They then implored that assistance from their prince 
which they had been accustomed only to expect from their 
river. The delay of their relief was no longer than that which 
employed a courier to bring the melancholy news to Rome ; 
and one would have imagined that this misfortune had befallen 
them only to display with greater lustre the generosity and 
goodness of Caesar. It was an ancient and general opinion 

2o6 CORU. 

that our city could not subsist without provisions drawn from 
Egypt. This vain and proud nation boasted that, though con- 
quered, they nevertheless fed their conquerors ; that, by means 
of their river, either abundance or scarcity were entirely at 
their own disposal. But we have now returned the Nile his 
own harvests, and given him back the provisions he sent us. 
Let the Egyptians be, then, convinced by their own expe- 
rience, that they are not necessary to us, and are only our 
vassals. Let them know that their ships do not so much 
bring us the provision we stand in need of, as the tribute which 
they owe us. And let them never forget that we can do with- 
out them, but that they can never do without us. This most 
fruitful province had been ruined, had it not worn the Roman 
chains. The Egyptians, in their sovereign, found a deliverer 
and a father. Astonished' at the sight of their granaries filled 
without any labour of their own, they were at a loss to know 
to whom they owed this foreign and gratuitous plenty. The 
famine of a people, though at such a distance from us, though 
so speedily stopped, served only to let them feel the advan- 
tage of living under our empire. The Nile may, in other times, 
have diffused more plenty in Egypt, but never more glory 
upon us." 

Despite this splendid harangue in favour of foreign despot- 
ism, for it was neither more nor less than that, Egypt had 
every reason to be proud of her productiveness in respect to 
corn ; and that both Rome and Constantinople well knew. 
It was the accusation brought against St. Athanasius, of his 
having threatened to impede in future the importation of 
corn into the latter city from Alexandria, which so greatly 
incensed the Emperor Constantine against him, that sovereign 
being well aware how much his capital had to rely upon the 
grain exported thither from Egypt. 

It has been said that an entire straw symbolized union, and 
the breaking of a straw rupture. The antiquity of this latter 
emblem is traced back to a very early period, and from an 
event recorded by ancient French chroniclers as occurring in 
922, in the reign of Charles the Simple, was evidently a cus- 
tomary and well-comprehended mode of procedure at that 
time. That monarch, defied by his most powerful vassals, 
and threatened by foreign foesi summoned a meeting of his 

Corn. 207 

barons at the Champ de Mai, at Soissons. When there, his 
unruly chieftains, only rendered more audacious by his con- 
cessions and promises, boldly upbraided him for his incapacity, 
and vehemently declared that they would no longer submit 
to the government of such a king. As a token that they re- 
nounced their allegiance, they advanced to the foot of the 
throne, and angrily breaking the straws which they held, flung 
them on the ground, and retired ; by this act manifesting that 
all compacts between him and them were broken. 

There is a very suggestive story told of an Arab having lost 
his track in the desert, and, after having passed two days 
without food, of his having arrived at an oasis frequented by 
caravans. Starvation stared him in the face : he searched 
carefully for any vestiges of food, when, to his delight, he per- 
ceived a small leathern bag lying on the sand. He believed 
it contained flour — the staff of life. " God be praised !" he 
exclaimed, "I am saved!" Hastily untying the bag, he 
eagerly examined its contents. " Alas ! " he cried, " unfortu- 
nate wretch that I am ! it is only gold-dust 1" 



THE gaudy Ticlip has gathered round its vividly gay petals 
quite a galaxy of anecdotes, more or less reliable. It is 
sometimes marked in the English language of flowers as indi- 
cative of vanity, but more generally under its Oriental signifi- 
cation of a declaration of love. Its original home is presumed 
to be Persia, and its name is considered a corruption of the 
Persian word for turban, to which article of attire it bears no 
little similitude ; a resemblance of which Moore, more than 
once, has availed himself in his poem of " Lalla Rookh." 

Busbeck, the Emperor of Germany's ambassador to the 
Sultan, in the middle of the sixteenth century, was greatly 
attracted by the gay colours of this flower, and on his return 
to his native land, carried some of the bulbs with him. They 
soon became great favourites with the florists. They were 
imported into Italy, in 1577 into England, some few years 
later into France, and ere long were domiciled in nearly every 
European climate. 

Beckman, in his " History of Inventions," gives an account 
of how, in 1634, one of the most singular manias that has ever 
deranged the human mind broke forth in Holland. All classes 
were infected with an extraordinary desire to possess rare spe- 
cimens of the tulip : not, indeed, in most instances, for love 
of the flower, but rather with a view to participate in the pe- 
cuniary speculations to which it gave rise. For a single bulb, 
which the Dutch florists had grandiloquently styled Semper 
Augustus, £ifx>, a handsome carriage and pair of horses, with 
harness complete, is recorded to have been given ; it is said 
that ;^ 1,200 was the purchase-money of another ; while engage- 

Tulip. 209 

merits to the amount of ;£^5,000 were entered into for a third 
root of a very pecuhar species ! 

To such an extent did this mania at length extend, that 
one person, who had possessed an income of more than ;^3,ooo 
per annum, was reduced to poverty in a few months througli 
speculating in these flowers. A cotmoisseur in these valuables, 
possessing a very magnificent specimen, heard that there ex- 
isted one of a similar kind at Haarlem. He journeyed to that 
city, purchased the rival blossom at an enormous outlay, and 
as soon as it became his, crushed it to pulp with his foot, 
crying out in ecstacy, " Now my tulip is unique !" 

Some still more ludicrous stories are related in connection 
with this singular mental epidemic ; for instance, one tale runs 
that whilst the mania was at its height, a sailor, going into a 
merchant's counting-house, saw a bulb which he mistook for 
an onion ; he popped it into his pocket, and took it off to aid 
him in relishing a red herring which he had got for dinner. 
The merchant, missing the bulb, which was that of a high- 
priced tulip, suspected the sailor, rushed after him, and caught 
him — ^just finishing his meal off the ill-flavoured onion ! The 
poor sailor, who for once had dined like a prince, expiated his 
mistake by a six months' imprisonment. 

Another unfortunate offender was a gentleman who called 
on a florist, and being shown into the conservatory, beguiled 
his leisure by pealing the several coats off" a bulb that he found 
there, and by then cutting the remainder into shreds. Ere 
long in comes the proprietor, and to his dismay sees the frag- 
ments of the root, which proved to be that of a Van Eyck, 
then deemed one of the most precious of all tulip varieties ! 
In vain the unintentional criminal expostulated ; the enraged 
owner dragged him before a magistrate, who fined him 4,000 
florins for his freak, and sent him to prison until he procured 
securities for the amount. 

To such an extent did this floral gambling spread that, it 
is stated, the city of Haarlem derived ten millions sterling 
from it during the three years that it existed. Of course the 
invariable panic came at last. Government was appealed to 
to impede its course, but in vain. Down came the aerial for- 
tunes with a crash, ruining hundreds of innocent people, and 
shaking the national credit to its very foundations. This 


2 10 Tulip. 

mania has been attributed to Lipsius, but he was perfectly 
guiltless of the gambling portion of it, having merely proffered 
high prices for the best flowers. 

These disasters, however, have not eradicated from the 
minds of the Dutch their love for the tulip ; they still have 
A great partiality for it, and, some few years ago, Herr Van- 
derninck paid as much as £6\o for a single bulb of a new 
species. The English are not free from the tuHpomania: from 
£"S to ;^io is no uncommon price for new and choice varieties; 
in 1836, at a sale of a Mr. Clarke's tulips at Croydon, ;£^ioo 
was given for a single bulb, the " Fanny Kemble." And our 
tulip-fanciers are not altogether unsuspected of still experi- 
mentalizing for that philosopher's stone of gardening, a black 

The furore which the tulip had excited in Holland caused 
it to become a popular flower in other countries ; and under 
careful cultivation it multiplied so rapidly, that, in 1740, the 
Baden Durlach Garden at Karlsruhe contained no less than 
2,159 kinds, and Count Pappenheim's gardens, at one time, 
more than 5,000 varieties ! 

There is a bulb of the tulip species in 'Assyria, which sleeps 
through the long summer drought, then wakens again to life, 
and prematurely puts forth blossoms when the early rains of 
October invigorate the soil ; but, like too many earthly an- 
ticipations, the flower is smitten by the snow or blasted by 
the wintry winds, and seems to perish ; by-and-bye, however, 
spring resumes its sunny reign, and these blooms once more 
make their appearance, with all that vivid beauty of colour, 
and those variety of forms, which are so glowingly depicted 
on the canvas or described in the pages of Eastern poets. 




THIS tree is frequently mentioned in Scriptural story, and 
has, indeed, been made the emblem of curiosity from an 
incident related in the New Testament. Amongst the crowd 
which witnessed the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem 
was a publican named Zaccheus ; and he, in order to obtain a 
better view of the Messiah, climbed up into a sycamore which 
stood by the way. 

The Scriptural sycamore is a large tree resembling the mul- 
berry in its leaf and the fig in its fruit ; hence it is presumed 
its name (from two Greek words) is, derived: sycos, a fig-tree, 
and moras, a mulberry-tree. It is a wide-spreading tree — 
attains a considerable height, and exhibits a trunk of large 
dimensions. To the ancients it was known as " the wisest of 
trees," because it buds late in the spring, and thus avoids the 
nipping frost. 

In former ages its fruit appears to have constituted an im- 
portant item of the diet of the Egyptians ; and, even now-a- 
days, travellers inform us that in some parts of Egypt it is a 
common article of food with the people, who are said to think 
themselves well off when they have a piece of bread, a couple 
of sycamore figs, and a pitcher filled with water from the Nile. 

It is good evidence in behalf of the value which these trees 
bore in the eyes of the Egyptians that the Psalmist, when 
recording the plagues wherewith the Lord visited that people, 
says, " He destroyed their sycamore-trees with frost." 

It is probable that these trees were carefully cultivated in 
Canaan from a very remote age. The prophet Amos is de- 
scribed as " a gatherer of sycamore fruit," — that is, he was a 
dresser of sycamore-trees. In David's reign, it is stated that 
an officer was appointed to tend " the olive-trees and the syca- 
more-trees that were in the low plains." 


212 SrCAMORE. 

In an anonymous but meritorious volume, entitled " Verses 
by a Poor Man," there is a pretty poem about trees, and the 
emblem of curiosity is thus introduced : 

" I love the shady sycamore, 

With its leaves so large and round, 
That lie, in dull November hours, 
Thick spotted on the ground. " 

" The shady sycamore," with its large and spreading branches 
bedecked with their always-green foliage, affords a pleasant 
retreat from the sun, so that it is commonly planted, by the 
inhabitants of Egypt and Palestine, along the roadside, and 
in the immediate vicinity of towns and villages, where it may 
often be seen stretching its arms over the houses, screening 
the fainting inhabitants from the glowing heat of summer. 

The wood of this tree, notwithstanding its coarse-grained 
and spongy appearance, is said to be very durable — an opinion 
probably derived from the fact that the coffins in which the 
ancient Egyptian mummies are discovered are made of syca- 
more. Bruce affirms that some of this wood, which he buried 
in his garden, perished in four years : it has, therefore, been 
conjectured, and with much likelihood, that the preservation 
of the mummy-chests arises either from a particular prepara- 
tion, or else from the dryness of the climate and the sandy 
soil of Egypt. 

This tree requires much attention in order to render its fruit 
edible, and this fruit whilst growing undergoes divers opera- 
tions, for, if left to itself, it would become exceedingly bitter. 





"The faUen hoUyhock." 

Ebenezer Elliott. 

THE emblem of that crime by which Wolsey tells us the 
angels fell is the tall and stately Hollyhock. A few years 
ago it was often designated the " garden mallow," and, indeed, 
belongs to the mallow family. From the fact that it is known 
in France as Rose d' outre Mer, or "rose from beyond the sea," 
it has been surmised that it was first introduced into Europe 
from Syria by the Crusaders. Sometimes it is styled the 
" China rose," because large numbers of roots have been im- 
ported from that country, with whose inhabitants its showy 
bloomage makes it a great favourite. 

In some parts of France this symbol of ambition is used to 
show the divisions of gardens and vineyards, in the same way 
that privet is in England. Phillips, in his " Flora Historica," 
strongly recommends that it be thus employed here, and in- 
dulges in the prophecy that some day " the hollyhock will be 
planted in the hedges of our fields, and the whole appearance 
of the country be much improved by relieving the uniformity 
of fences. Considerable benefit," he adds, " would at the same 
time be received by those cottagers who have the prudence to 
give attention to the hive, since the late season at which the 
hollyhock flowers gives the bees an opportunity to make a 
second season for collecting their sweets." 

The blossom is said to furnish a very large quantity of bee 
honey — a fact which did not escape Horace Smith's poet eye : 

" And from the nectaries of hollyhocks 

The humble bee, e'en till he faints, will sip.'' 

These proud towering flowers supply many other valuable 
requisites besides the storing of hives, but their economic uses 

214 Hollyhock. 

cannot be discussed here : what is not apart from our plan, 
however, is reference to their showy splendour — a splendour 
that is doubly prized because it does not " put forth such blaze 
of beauty as translates to dullest hearts its dialect of pride," 
until full-hearted summer has carried off all her other floral 
favourites. Then does the stately stem of the hollyhock shoot 
up above the fading and faded blossoms, and bedecks itself 
with gallant bouquets of roses — roses of every tint and every 
hue, from the palest blush to the deepest crimson, from flaky 
white to the deepest orange; and, sometimes bursting forth 
purplish black, or glossy brown, looks, as Jean Ingelow poeti- 
cally asserts, 

" Queen hollyhock, with butterflies for crowns." 

The author of the " Poetry of Gardening " thinks that for 
ornamenting lawns there is nothing to surpass the old-fashioned 
hollyhock. " This," he remarks, " is the only landscape flower 
we possess — the only one, that is, whose forms and colours tell 
in the distance ; and so picturesque is it, that perhaps no artist 
ever attempted to draw a garden without introducing it, whether 
it was really there or not. By far the finest eff"ect," adds this 
writer, "that combined art and nature ever produced in garden- 
ing, were those fine masses of many-coloured hollyhocks clus- 
tered round a weather-tinted vase, such as Sir Joshua delighted 
to place in the wings of his pictures. And what more magnifi- 
cent than a long avenue of these floral giants, backed by a dark 
thick hedge of old-fashioned yew } Such an avenue," remarks 
the same author, "was once to be seen in the fulness of its 
autumn splendour in a garden of a deep lawyer, at Granton, 
near Edinburgh. It was," he concludes, " the most gorgeous 
mass of colouring we ever beheld ! " 

This essayist, who manifests a great partiality for the pomp- 
ous flower, elsewhere depicts "a vase of large dimensions and 
bolder sculpture, backed by the heads of a mass of crimson, 
rose, and straw-coloured hollyhocks that spring up from the 
bank below," as a triumph of poetical gardening. 



"The lotus-flower, whose leaves I now 
Kiss silently, 
Far more than words can tell thee, how 
1 worship thee ! " 


OF the various flowers dedicated to religious purposes by 
the nations of antiquity, none occupy a more promi- 
nent position than the Lotus, a species of water-lily. Its 
sacred blossom was deemed emblematical of mystery by the 
symbol worshippers of China, India, and Egypt, and, as a 
natural consequence, was frequently used for architectural 
adornment by their priests, who always found it advantageous 
to enshroud the performance of their religious rites under an 
impenetrable veil of symbolism and secrecy. The Egyptians 
moreover consecrated the flower of the lotus to the sun, their 
God of Eloquence, and represented the dawn of day by a 
youth seated upon its blossom. Herodotus and Theophrastus 
bear testimony to the high antiquity of the Egyptian reverence 
for this lily, and M. Savary assures us that, even at the present 
day, the degenerate races dwelling upon the banks of the Nile 
are still animated by the same feelings of worship and venera- 
tion towards it. It is also revered at the present time in Hin- 
dostan, Thibet, and Nepaul, where they believe that in its 
sacred bosom Brahma was born. 

The Indian Lotus is famous for its roseate colour, for its 
powerful fragrance, and because it is in its blossom, which is 
somewhat larger than the English water-lily, that the Hin- 
doos feign their Cupid Manmadin, whom they picture pinioned 
with flowers, was first seen floating down the sacred Ganges. 

2i6 Lotus. 

Poor L. E. L. founded one of her passionate lyrics on this 
fable. She represented the youthful deity as 

" Seated on a lotus-flower, 
Gathered in a summer hour ; 
» « «p * • 

Grasping in his infant hand 
Arrows in their silken band, 
Each made of a signal flower. 
Emblem of its varied power!" 

This lily is thus introduced in the " Sacontala," in reference 
to the art of palmistry, or chirognomy, as practised by the 
Brahmin priesthood. " What ! " exclaims a predictive Brah- 
min, "the very palm of his hand bears the mark of empire, 
and while he thus eagerly extends it, shows its lines of exqui- 
site network, and grows like a lotus expanded at early dawn, 
when the ruddy splendour of its petals hides all other tints in 

The use of the lotus' elegant form in decorative architec- 
ture was spoken of above, and one of our authorities thus 
confirms the fact : " This is the sublime, the hallowed symbol 
that eternally occurs in Oriental mythology ; and, in truth, 
not without substantial reason, for it is itself a lovely prodigy : 
it contains a treasure of physical instruction, and affords to the 
enraptured botanist exhaustless matter of amusement and 
contemplation. No wonder, then, that the philosophizing sons 
of Mizraim adorned their majestic structures with the spread- 
ing tendrils of this vegetable, and made the ample-extending 
vase that crowns its lofty stem the capital of the most beau- 
tiful columns." 

The sacred images of the Indians, Japanese, and Tartars are 
almost invariably represented as seated upon the leaves of the 
lotus, as is also the Chinese deity, Puzza. 

The Egyptian divinity Osiris is likewise portrayed with his 
head decorated with this sacred flower ; indeed, the same 
symbol is found recurring in every part of the Northern hemi- 
sphere to which symbolic religion has penetrated. 

The courtiers of the Emperor Adrian endeavoured to per- 
suade him that his deceased favourite Antinous had been 
m Hamorphosed into a lotus ; but the Roman sovereign, who 
erected a temple to his youthful friend's memory, wished it to 

Lotus. 217 

be believed that he had been changed into a constellation. 
Naturalists have differed greatly respecting the nature of the 
ancient Egyptian lotus, some even asserting that it was a 
thorny shrub, and others saying that it was only a man's name ; 
but the evidence of several writers of antiquity is so precise, 
that there cannot be the slightest doubt of its lily origin. It 
is described by Herodotus as " the water-lily, that grows in the 
inundated lands of Egypt. The seed of this flower, which 
resembles that of the poppy, they bake and make into a kind 
of bread. They also use the root of this plant, which is round, 
of an agreeable flavour, and about the size of an apple." 
Theophrastus describes it in similar terms in his " History of 
Plants," as also does Pliny. It was formerly styled the " Lily 
of the Nile," from its growing in abundance on the banks and 
about the marshes which formed the delta of that river. 

It is the Nymphcea lotus of Linnaeus ; is a stately and ma- 
jestic plant, rising above the surface of the water at sunrise ; 
folding its petals and sinking beneath it at sunset. It has a 
calyx like that of a large tulip, and diffuses an odour similar 
to that of the lily. 

A writer of an erudite article on " Floral Symbols," which 
appeared in " Eliza Cook's Journal," and to which we are in- 
debted for several valuable allusions, suggested that " the 
wonderful physical peculiarities in the growth of this plant 
rendered it an appropriate symbol of a worship of the most 
degrading and immoral character." 

Alas ! that man should so far divert these lovely " floral 
apostles " from their intended typifying purposes of love and 
innocence, and thus cause them to 

" Weep without woe, and blush without a crime ! " 

In Japan, however, the lotus is typical of purity, and is, with 
the flower of the motherwort, borne aloft in vases at funeral 

Moore, in a note to " Lalla Rookh," respecting little looking- 
glasses which certain Asiatic maidens wear upon their thumbs, 
remarks that the lotus is the emblem of beauty ; but the lines 
which he adduces in confirmation of this idea serve better to 
illustrate the symbolism of silent eloquence. Two lovers are 
supposed to be holding mute intercourse before their parents : 

2i8 Lotus. 

" He with salute of deference due, 
A lotus to his forehead prest ; 
She raised her mirror to his view, 
Then turned it inward to her breast. " 

Moore also alludes to the poetical legends of the Hindoo 
youthful God of Love being first seen " seated on a lotus- 
flower." He tells us of Selim, that 

" He little knew how well the boy 

Can float upon a river's streams, 
Lighting them with his smile of joy ; 

As bards have seen him in their dreams 
Down the blue Ganges, laughing, glide 

Upon a rosy lotus wreath, 
Catching new lustre from the tide 

That with his image shone beneath." 

The floral home of this flower, consecrated in India to love, 
is thus spoken of by one well acquainted with the Ganges and 
its banks : " The rich and luxuriant clusters of the lotus float in 
quick succession upon the silvery current. Nor is it the sacred 
lotus alone which embellishes the wavelets of the Ganges : 
large white, yellow,j^ and scarlet flowers pay an equal tribute ; 
and the prows of the numerous native vessels navigating the 
stream are garlanded by long wreaths of the most brilliant 
daughters of the parterre. India may be called a Paradise of 
flowers : the most beautiful lilies grow spontaneously upon 
the sandy shores of the rivers, and from every projecting cliff 
some shrub dips its flowers in the wave below." 

Jayadeva alludes to the blue lotus when he sings, "Whose 
wanton eyes resemble blue water-lilies agitated by the breeze;" 
and Moore follows up the simile thus : 

" His breath is the soul of flowers like these. 
And his floating eyes — oh ! they resemble 
Blue water-lilies, when the breeze 

Is making the stream around them tremble. " 

Poor Edgar Poe did not omit to notice Love's floral cradle, 
and in his most musical, most melancholy rhyme, sang of 

"The nelumbo-bud that floats for ever 
With Indian Cupid down the holy river. " 

And, in his beautiful Paradise, " Al Aaraaf," places the 

Lotus. 219 

' ' \ alionerian lotus, thither flown 
From struggling with the waters of the Rhone ; '' 

remarking in a foot-note, that "there is found in the Rhone a 
lily of the Valisnerian kind. Its stem will stretch to the length 
of three or four feet, thus preserving its head above water in 
the swellings of the river ; and further, it is said to sink quite 
below the surface during the night." 

An opportunity of embalming this wonderful record of 
Nature in his flowing verse is thus taken by Moore : 

" Those virgin lilies, all the night 
Bathing their beauties in the lake, 
That they may rise more fresh and bright 
When their beloved sun 's awake. ' 

Camellia Japonica. 


EVERYBODY will willingly acknowledge the Camellia, 
or Rose of Japan, to be one of the most lovely floral 
beauties ever introduced into this country; but, alas! despite 
its supreme loveliness, this flower, unlike its European rival 
queen, the rose, has no fragrance ! 

This beautiful blossom, deemed in the poetical Blumen- 
sprache, or language of flowers of our Teutonic cousins, as 
expressing Thou art my heart's sovereign, was first introduced 
into Europe in 1639, and derives its name from a Jesuit monk, 
Joseph Kamel, or, as it is generally Latinized into, Camellus. 
It has been justly observed, that had this superb bloom been 
Greek, Italian, or English, there would have been a great deal 
said of it by our poets ; and doubtless it does figure largely in 
the poetry of Japan. Unfortunately for our quotations, but 
perhaps fortunately for their own comfort, the Japanese have 
hitherto preserved most of their good things to themselves, and 
so, for the present, can live unscathed by the fire of European 

Did Jean Ingelow have these magnificent floral pets in her 
poet mind when she sang : 

" These are buds that fold within them, 
Closed and covered from our sight, 
Many a richly-tinted petal, 
Never looked on by the light " ? 

And did this same gifted poetess mean that it was the richly- 
tinted petals of these stars of evening, which uttered their 
"songs without words" to some admired human flower, at 
those intoxicating hours when a sound of revelry was faintly 
heard floating out of the heavily-scented ball-room into the 
still more fragrant silence of the conservatory? — 

Missing Page 

Missing Page 

Camellia Japonica. 223 

" And that they whose lips do utter 
Language such as bards have sung, 
Tliough their speech shall be to many 
As an unknown tongue." 

Let not, O fair maiden ! the presentation of one of these 
bright blossoms be to you incomprehensible; do not let the 
donor of such a complimentary gift deem that he is addressing 
you in an unknown tongue. Every one, indeed, should be able 
to interpret the symbolism of these lovely flowers, which, as 
Mrs. Sigourney says, 

" Put forth such blaze of beauty as translates 
To dullest hearts their dialect of Icve." 



THE Polyanthus is twin-sister to the Auricula, and both 
of them belong to the primrose clan. The former is 
the hardier, but less admired, of the twain, and will survive 
the coldest and wettest seasons. Like all the plants of its 
genus, it is an early blower, being one of the first flowers that 
welcome in the spring. 

" The polyanthus of unnumbered dyes," as Thomson calls 
it in his " Seasons," is asserted to be merely a variety of the 
field-primrose, produced by the skill of the gardener. It was 
known, however, to the ancients by the name of " Paralisos," 
and was believed to have sprung frorn the ashes of a youth of 
that name, who pined to death for the loss of Melicerta, who, 
to escape the mad fury of Anthamas, King of Thebes, plunged 
into the sea and was drowned. 

The Auricula, significant of a whisper, was formerly known 
to botanists as Auricula ursi, or "bear's ear," from the shape 
of its leaves : it was also formerly spoken of as "mountain cow- 
slip." Perhaps there is no flower that has received more tender 
care from cultivators than the auricula : they have waited upon 
and watched over it like a mother over her infant ; and won- 
derful are the effects education has produced upon it. In its 
original state it is either yellow or white, and the skill of the 
florist has brought it to its present rich hues of brown or 
purple, sometimes edged with green or centred with gold. 
Thomson talks of 

" Auriculas, enrich'd 
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves." 

The author of " Flora Domestica " states that this plant has 

Polyanthus. 225 

a singular propensity for meat, and that a good part of its 
bloom is actually owing, like an alderman's, to this consumption 
of flesh. Juicy pieces of meat are placed about the root, so 
that it may in some measure be said to live on blood. This 
undoubtedly lessens its charms in some eyes — its florid aspect 
somehow becomes unnatural ; and the " shining meal," with 
which Thomson says it is "enriched," being no longer asso- 
ciated with vegetation, makes it look like a baker covered 
with flour, and just come out from a dinner in his hot oven. 
Keats evidently describes either the polyanthus or auricula in 
this passage of " Endymion : " 

" Oft have I brought thee flowers, on their stalkt set 
Like vestal primroses, but dark velvet 
Edges them round, and they have golden pits." 




"I, in this wisdom of the holly-tree can emblems see." 


IF ever any production of nature testified to the superin- 
tending care of a Supreme Being, it is the Holly; that 
evergreen bush which " outdares cold winter's ire," and with 
its shining green foliage and brilliant red berries, forms such 
a cheerful contrast with the general lifelessness of the British 
landscape in winter. In frost, in snow, in sun or rain, its glossy 
leaves are ever seen beaming brightly, inspiriting dreary hearts 
to renewed hopes and exertions. 

This tree, apart from its slow growth, is admirable for the 
formation of hedges. As soon as it attains any size, it con- 
stitutes an impenetrable fence against all kinds of intruders, 
animal or human. Its leaves are a favourite food with some 
creatures, but the sharp prickles with which those on the lower 
branches are provided repel all depredators : it is strange to 
observe that the leaves upon the upper portion of the tree, 
and which are out of the reach of assailants, dispense with 
their thorns, and, as if conscious of their security, grow per- 
fectly smooth. This remarkable adaptation of nature to the 
law of self-preservation is noticed by Southey, in his address 
to the holly-tree, a simple poem that will be read and admired 
long after all his ponderous epics have been consigned to obli- 

" O reader ! hast thou ever stood to see 

The holly-tree 
The eye that contemplates it well perceives 

Its glossy leaves 
Ordered by an Intelligence so wise, 
As might confound the atheist's sophistries. 

Holly. 227 

" Below a circling fence its leaves are seen 

Wrinkled and keen ; 
No grazing cattle through their prickly round 

Can reach to wound ; 
But as they grow where nothing is to fear. 
Smooth and unarmed the pointless leaves appear. 

" I love to view these things with curious eyes, 

And moralize ; 
And in this vrisdom of the holly-tree 

Can emblems see 
Wherewith perchance to make a pleasant rhyme, 
One which may profit in the after-time. 


" And as when all the Sumrier trees are seen 
So bright and green. 
The holly-leaves their fadeless hues display 

Less bright than they ; 
But when the bare and wintry woods we see, 
What then so cheerful as the holly-tree ? 

" So serious should my youth appear among 

The thoughtless throng; 
So would I seem among the young and gay 

More grave than they; 
That in my age as cheerful I might be 
As the green winter of the holly-tree." 

Of the various evergreens which the Enghsh use at Christ- 
mas for decorating their houses and churches, none is such a 
favourite, and is deemed so throughly emblematic of that fes- 
tive season, as the much-admired holly. Like all widely-spread 
customs, the practice of decking places with evergi-eens appears 
to be a relic of considerable antiquity, and one that evidently 
symbolized far more than it does now-a-days. As with so 
many of our emblematic plants, the races of antiquity ascribed 
several wonderful properties to the holly-tree: the disciples of 
Zoroaster, the fire-worshippers, believed that the sun never 
shadowed it; and the followers of that philosopher still re- 
maining in Persia and India, are said to throw water impreg- 
nated with holly-bark in the face of a new-born child. 

During the great festival of the Saturnalia, which occurred 
about the period of the present Christmas, it was customary 
among the Romans to send holly-boughs to their friends, as 
typical of their good wishes. Pliny states that branches of 
this tree defend houses from lightning, and men from witch- 
craft The early Roman Christians, despite the interdiction 

15 — a 

228 Holly. 

of their priests, appear to have used the holly in ornamenting' 
their churches at Christmas, and undoubtedly this custom, 
which they derived from heathen nations, they have trans- 
mitted to their descendants. The earliest English record of this 
pleasant practice is supposed to be found in a carol in praise 
of holly, written in the time of Henry VI., and beginning with 
this stanza : 

" Nay, ivy, nay, it shall not be, I wys; 
Let holly hafe the mastry, as the maner is. 
Holly stand in the halle, fayre to behold ; 
Ivy stand without the dore; she is full sore a-cold." 

In some of the southern portions of the United States the 
leaves of the holly-bush are used as a substitute for tea. The 
American Indians are said to regard them as a panacea ; and 
at certain seasons of the year they hasten in large numbers to 
the sea-coast, where the bush flourishes best. Making a fire 
on the ground, and suspending a cauldron of water above it, 
they throw a great quantity of these leaves into the vessel, 
aad then, sitting in a circle round the fire, they begin to imbibe 
large draughts of the liquid, which is served out in a wooden 
bowl : very shortly this produces vomiting. For two or three 
days the process is repeated, and then, every one carrying a 
bundle of the leaves away with him, they return home. 

" This plant," says Miller, writing some years ago, " is sup- 
posed to be the same as that which grows in Paraguay, where 
the Jesuits make a great revenue of the leaves, an account of 
which is given by M. Frezier." 

Evelyn in his garden at Sayes Court had a magnificent 
hedge of holly, which he glowingly described as " at any time 
of the year glittering with its armed and varnished leaves ; 
the taller standards, at orderly distances, blushing with their 
natural coral. It mocks," he added, " the rude assaults of the 
weather, beasts, or hedge-breaker ;" but, alas for human fore- 
sight ! — the impregnable hedge could not resist a sovereign's 
folly. The Czar, Peter the Great, during his stay in England, 
having taken up his residence at Mr. Evelyn's house in order 
to be near the Deptford dockyard, is recorded to have en- 
joyed the puerile amusement of being wheeled in a barrow 
through the dense holly hedges which had afforded their owner 
so much innocent pride. Under such onslaughts the gardens 

HOLLV. 229 

as may be readily imagined, and as poor Evelyn pathetically 
observes, were ruined. 

It is stated that in some parts of the country there is a sin- 
gular custom of beating the feet, when afflicted with chilblains, 
with a branch of holly, from some lingering superstitious idea 
of its curative powers. It is to be hoped that the upper or 
thornless portion of the tree is used, otherwise, as our au- 
thority naively observes, the castigation is little likely to pro- 
duce any other effect than that of irritating a part already too 
much inflamed and susceptible. 

Apart from its beauty, and the pleasurable feelings it en- 
genders by decking the wintry prospect with its lively-hued 
foliage and brilliant scarlet berries, the holly has other asso- 
ciations which render it, in England at least, the most beloved 
of all plants. Neither the luxuriant rose or the modest violet 
produces such tender feelings in the Briton's heart. How 
many happy memories, how many gentle feelings, will the 
sight of a sprig of this beloved plant excite ! What an ever- 
susceptible chord of human sympathy will a vision of this 
bright holly cause to vibrate, even in hearts long silent to such 
music! Long, long may Christmas, crowned with this em- 
blem of its vitality, knit in bonds of loving brotherhood man 
to fellow-man ! and long let us behold, with Gay, 

" Christmas, the joyous period of the year ! 
Now with bright holly all the temples strow. 
With laurel green and sacred mistletoe." 

In "Poor Robin's Almanack" for 1695, the custom of de- 
corating dwellings with evergreens is quaintly introduced : 

" With holly and ivy, " With bays and rosemary. 

So green and so gay, And laurel complete ; 

We deck up our houses And every one now 

As fresh as the day ; Is a king in conceit." 

But there is an English poet to whom we may always turn 
for a Christmas wreath, a poet who is never a-weary of sing- 
ing the joys — real and ideal — of that transitory epoch in the 
tedious years — those bright oases, in what to so many are 
deserts of time, when it does indeed appear as if " peace and 
goodwill towards all men " is the general feeling in Christian 
nations. And that poet is — need it be said ? — Eliza Cook. 
Hark how she carols of the Christmas holly : 

230 Holly. 

" The holly I the holly ! oh, twine it with the bay — 

Come, give the holly a song ; 
For it helps to drive stern Winter away, 

With his garments so sombre and long. 
It peeps through the trees with its berries of red, 

And its leaves of burnish'd green, 
When the flowers and fruits have long been dead. 

And not even the daisy is seen. 
Then sing to the holly, the Christmas holly. 

That hangs over peasant and king ; 
While we laugh and carouse 'neath its glittering boughs, 

To the Christmas holly we '11 sing. 

"The gale may whistle, and frost may come 

To fetter the gurgling rill ; 
The woods may be bare and the warblers dumb — 

But the holly is beautiful still. 
In the revel and light of princely halls 

The bright holly-branch is found ; 
And its shadow falls on the lowliest — falls 

While the brimming horn goes round. 
Then drink to the holly, &c. 

" The ivy lives long, but its home must be 

Where graves and ruins are spread ; 
There 's beauty about the cypress-tree, 

But it flourishes near the dead ; 
The laurel the warrior's brow may wreathe, 

But it tells of tears and blood. 
I sing the holly — and who can breathe 

Aught of that that is not good ? 
Then sing to the holly, &c." 




THE Foxglove typifies insincerity because of the invidious 
poison which lurks within its bright blossom. In France 
and Germany, and in some parts of England, it is known as 
"Finger-flower," because of the resemblance it bears to the 
finger of a glove, a resemblance which the poets have not failed 
to take advantage of. William Brown describes Pan as seeking 
gloves for his mistress : 

"To keep her slender fingers from the sunne, 
Pan through the pastures oftentunes hath runne 
To pluck the speckled foxgloves from their stem, 
And on those fingers neatly placed them." 

It was the age of conceits and quaint fancies when these 
gallant gentlemen wrote, and so we pardon their artificial 
fantasies as a humour of the age. Cowley, like his compa- 
triot, found a finger for this bonny bloom : 

" The foxglove on fair Flora's hand is virom, 
Lest while she gathers flowers she meet a thorn. '' 

The tall purple foxglove is one of the most stately and yet 
most lovely of British plants; its elegantly-mottled and in- 
versely conical bells are well worthy the attention of the en- 
tomologists, as a variety of tiny beings are attracted by the 
shelter, or by the rich repast which the blossoms afford, to 
continually resort to them, and 

" Bees that soar for bloom 
High as the highest peak of Fumess Fells, 
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells." 

The campanular shape of these attractive flowers seems as 
inviting to the pens of modern poets as was its finger-like form 
to those of yore ; and so we find not only Wordsworth, but 

232 Foxglove. 

also Charlotte Smith and Eliza Cook, alluding to its " bells." 
The former poetess invites the bee to 

"Explore the foxglove's freckled bell;" 

and the latter woos the south wind to ring 

"A fairy chime 
Upon the foxglove bells." 

The common foxglove varies in colour from a Roman pur- 
ple to a violet hue, and is found of a cream colour, orange- 
tawney, blush-colour, and white. It is a pity these plants are 
poisonous, for they are extremely beautiful, particularly those 
kinds which are of a deep rose. They are all speckled within 
the bell, which adds still more to their richness. Tennyson 
truly styles them " the foxglove's dappled bells." 

This elegant plant was well known to the ancients for its 
medicinal qualities, and during the middle ages its celebrity 
as a vulnerary became proverbial in Italy, of which country 
the iron-coloured species is a native. Modern botanists have 
claimed it as an important remedy in pulmonary complaints : 

"The foxglove-leaves, with caution given, 
Another proof of favouring Heaven 

Will happily display : 
The rabid pulse it can abate, 
The hectic flush can moderate, 
And, blest by Him virhose vi^ill is fate, 

May give a lengthen'd day. " 

Poets frequently presuming upon their intimate acquaintance 
with Nature, term her children by any name that 's sweet, and 
often electing amongst themselves what certain things certain 
blooms shall typify, have christened the finger-flower " emblem 
of punishment :" 

"Foxglove and nightshade, side by side, 
Emblems of punishment and pride." 




" More bitter far than all 
It was to know that love could change and die." 

A. A. Procter. 

THE scarlet Pimpernel shares with the common red poppy 
the honour of being the only instances of bright scarlet 
blossoms amongst our British wild flowers, flowers of that vivid 
hue generally requiring the tropical sun to warm them into 

This bright little emblem of cJiange does not unfold its 
brilliant petals until eight o'clock in the morning, and refolds 
them towards noon : this habit has obtained for it the cogno- 
men of " the poor man's weather-glass ; " whilst for its useful- 
ness in foretelling the approach of rain, it is frequently known 
as " the shepherd's warning." Few who have passed a portion 
of their life in the country but are acquainted with this pro- 
perty of the pretty little pimpernel. Whenever its tiny scarlet 
blossoms are seen folding up their delicate petals, it may be 
deemed a certain indication of approaching rain; and as such 
a sign Darwin notices it : 

" Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel ; 
In fiery red the sun doth rise, 
Then wades through clouds to mount the skies ; 
'T will surely rain, we see 't with sorrow, — 
No working in the fields to-morrow. " 

Should rainy weather endure for several days, the pimpernel 
is said to lose its sensibility, and fails to foretell the coming 

This flower was said to have derived its ancient name of 
Centunculus, from cento, " a covering," because it spreads itself 
so profusely over cultivated fields ; but more recently that 
appellation has been transferred to the chaffweed. It was also 

234 Pimpernel. 

known formerly as Anagallis, which signifies "a laugh ; " and 
Pliny said that, when taken inwardly, it promoted mirth. This 
was probably the reason why poets styled it "the cheerful 

There is a blue variety of this little blossom, as also a rose- 
coloured one, but this latter is very rare. A pure white kind, 
with a beautiful purple centre, is sometimes; met with in Wales. 

Doubtless it was some such symbol tioweret as this frail 
emblem of change which Holmes pictured in his " mind's eye " 
when he sang : 

"Some years ago, a dark-eyed maid 

Was sitting in the shade — 
There 's something brings her to my mind 

In that young dreaming maid — 
And in her hand she held a flower, 

A flower whose speaking hue 
Said, in the language of the heart, 

' Believe the giver true.' 

"And as she looked upon its leaves. 

The maiden made a vow 
To wear it when the bridal wreath 

Was woven for her brow. 
She watch'd the flower, as, day by day, 

The leaflets curled and died ; 
But he who gave it never came 

To claim her for his bride. 

" Oh, many a Summer's morning glow 

Has lent the rose its ray. 
And many a Winter's drifting snow 

Has swept its bloom away ; 
But she has kept that faithless pledge 

To this her Winter hour, 
And keeps it still, herself alone, 

And wasted like the flower." 

How appropriate are the following words of Adelaide Procter 
to this frail emblem of a frailer joy : 

"Like hopes, perfumed and bright. 
So lately shining, wet with dew and tears, 

Trembling in morning light, 
I saw them change to dark and anxious fears 

Before the night!" 



THE white Clover, or Shamrock, is the national emblem 
of Ireland, and claims an equal place in history with 
England's rose, or Scotland's thistle. This symbol of their 
loved Emerald Isle is worn by Irishmen on the anniversary and 
in commemoration of St. Patrick's landing near Wicklow, in 
the beginning of the fourth century of the Christian era. The 
patron^aint is reported to have explained to his disciples the 
mysteries of the Trinity by means of a clover-leaf, or trefoil. 

This emblem of promise has received innumerable tokens of 
their regard for its good qualities from the poets of ill-fated 
Hibernia, but patriotism, more than love or friendship, is the 
symbolism portrayed. Moore, in one of his melodies, couples 
the shamrock of Ireland with the olive of Spain; but most 
assuredly the association is only possible in song. The follow- 
ing rollicking, anonymous verses are thoroughly characteristic 
of the sons of Hibernia, and portray to some extent the love 
they bear, and the typical uses that they make of, the white 
clover : 

*' Brave sons of Hibernia, your shamrocks display. 
For ever made sacred on St. Patrick's day ; 
'T is a type of religion, the badge of our saint. 
And a plant of that soil which no venom can taint. 

" Both Venus and Mars to that land lay a claim, 
Their title is own'd and recorded by fame ; 
But St. Patrick to friendship has hallowed the ground, 
And made hospitality ever abound. 

" Then with shamrocks and myrtles, let 's garnish the bowl. 
In converse convivial and sweet flow of soul, 
To our saint make oblations of generous wine — 
What saint could have more? — sure 't is worship divine ! 

" Tho' jovial and festive in seeming excess. 
We 've hearts sympathetic of others' distress. 
May our shamrocks continue to flourish, and prove 
An emblem of charity, friendship, and love. 

236 Clover. 

" May the blights of disunion no longer remain, 
Our shamrock to wither, its glories to stain ; 
May it flourish for ever, we Heaven invoke. 
Kindly shelter'd and fenced by the brave Irish oak ! " 

Bees delight in the sweet-scented blossoms of what Tennyson 
aptly calls the 

" Rare 'broidery of the purple clover," 

and obtain a plentiful supply of honey from its blushing lips : 
during the autumn months the cheering hum of these "musical 
hounds of the fairy king," as hither and thither they busily flit 
over their floral forest, and " hunt for the golden dew," is a most 
delightful, gladsome melody. 

Walter Thornbury, one of our most picturesque writers — a 
poet who paints pictures with words better than many of our 
artists do with colours — has the following dainty lyric, repre- 
sentative of " In Clover : " 

"There is clover, honey-sweet, "You may track the winds that blow 

Thick and tangled at our feet ; Through the corn-fields as they go ; 

Crimson-spotted lies the field, From the wheat, as from a sea, 

As in fight the warrior's shield : Springs the lark in ecstacy. 

Yonder poppies, full of scorn, Now the bloom is on the blade. 

Proudly wave above the com. In the sun and in the shade. 

There is music at our feet There is music at our feet 

In the clover, honey-sweet. In the clover, honey-sweet. 

This little plant is endowed with several strange properties, 
not the least singular of which is the fact that if moorlands in 
the north of England, and some parts of North America, are 
turned up for the first time, and strewed with lime, white clover 
springs up in abundance, typifying to the wondering farmer 
promise of future bounteous crops. No satisfactory solution 
of this circumstance has yet been propounded. The sponta- 
neous coming up of this flower is deemed an infallible indication 
of good soil. Every one knows all the wonderful things and 
brilliant future promised to the finder of a four-leaved sham- 
rock ! Dear reader, may you be that favourite of Fortune ! 

The Druids held the clover in great repute, deeming it, it is 
supposed, a charm against evil spirits. Hope was depicted by 
the ancients as a little child standing on tiptoe, and holding 
one of these flowers in his hand. What an exquisite allusion 
to promised pleasures was that ! 




THE tree generally called the Acacia in this country is the 
Robinia, or pseudo-acacia ; but the veritable symbol of 
friendship is the honey-locust-tree, or three-thorned acacia. A 
native of North America, remarkable for its brilliant green 
foliage, it has been consecrated by the Indians, who dwell in 
the still unsurveyed forests, and ramble over the yet boundless 
prairies, to the deity of chaste love, and as the emblem of that 
delicate passion it is sometimes even used by our own flori- 
graphists. The blossoms are small, and too nearly the colour 
of the leaves to produce any striking effect ; but the pod which 
succeeds them, being upwards of a foot in length and of a dark 
brown colour, contrasts curiously with the vivid hue of the 
foliage. The trunk and branches are armed with large red 
thorns, which present a very singular appearance. The Indians 
point their arrows with these thorns, and make their bows of 
this tree's incorruptible wood, whilst they use its blossoms as 
" token flowers, to tell what words can ne'er express so well." 

There is a tree growing in Oriental climes called the Egyp- 
tian acacia, but it is really a mimosa ; a valuable and fragrant 
gum, much used as incense in religious ceremonials, is obtained 
from it. This tree is supposed to be the shittah-tree of the Old 
Testament. Its timber is styled shittim, which some translate 
as " incorruptible wood." In the fifteenth chapter of Exodus it 
is recorded that the Ark of the Lord was made of shittim 
wood, overlaid, within and without, with pure gold, and having 
a crown of gold round about it ; and in the following chapter, 
we read that the staves were made of this same tree, as were 
also the boards of the tabernacle, and the woodwork of the 
altar on which the offerings were presented. 

This latter was the tree which Nourmahal alluded to in the 
lay with which she charmed her beloved Selim's ear : 

"Fly to the desert, fly with me, " Our rocks are rough, but smiling there 

Our Arab tents are too rude for thee; Th' acacia waves her yellow hair, 
But, oh! the choice what heart can doubt, Lonely and sweet, nor loved the less 
Of tents with love or thrones without. For flowering in a wilderness. 

238 Acacia 

" Our sands are bare, but down their slope "Come, if the love thou hast for me 
The silvery-footed antelope Is pure and fresh as mine for thee, — 

As gracefully and gaily springs, Fresh as the fountain underground 

As o'er the marble courts of kings. When first 't is by the lapvping found. * 

" Then come — thy Arab maid will be " But if for me thou dost forsake 

The loved and lone acacia-tree, Some other maid, and rudely break 

The antelope whose feet shall bless Her worship'd image from its base. 

With their light sound thy loneliness. To give to me the ruin'd place ; 

" Then fly with me, — ^if thou hast known "Then fare thee well, — I 'd rather make 
No other flame, nor falsely thrown My bower upon some icy lake 

A gem away that thou hadst sworn When thawing suns begin to shine, 

Should ever in thy heart be worn. Than trust to love so false as thine. " 

Thus passionately sung the " light of the harem," in " Lalla 

The pseudo-acacia is known also as the robinia, and was thus 
named by Linnsus in honour of Robin the botanist, who — 
somewhat more than a century ago — introduced the tree into 
France from America. There are two species of this acacia 
cultivated in Europe : their foliage is of a peculiarly brilliant 
green, and their pea-shaped blossoms droop in elegant clusters 
like those of the laburnum. Their beauty, however, is fleeting, 
scarcely lasting for a week, but during their short-lived exist- 
ence exhaling a sweet perfume. One of these species bears 
white bloom ; but the favourite of the twain bears, as its name 
implies, rose-coloured flowers. 

In a well-known " Language of Flowers," this latter tree — 
the rose acacia — is adopted as the type of elegance, because, 
remarks the editor, " the art of the toilet cannot produce any- 
thing fresher or more elegant than the attire of this pretty 
shrub. Its drooping branches, its gay green, its beautiful 
bunches of pink flowers, resembling bows of ribbon — all give 
it the appearance of a fashionable female in her ball-dress." 

In Biirger's Blumensprache, the acacia, as in most native and 
foreign floral languages, stands as the symbol oi friendship. 

Under its name of locust-tree, Holmes uses the acacia as a 
symbol of mourning : 

" When damps beneath and storms above 
Have bowed these fragile towers, 
Still o'er the grave yon locust-grove 
Shall swing its Orient flowers." 

• The hudhud, or lapwing, is supposed to have the power of discovering water 



WHEN sorrow takes possession of the wounded heart; 
when love or fortune has proved unkind; when the 
best laid schemes are gone astray, what medicine can minister 
so well to the mind diseased as solitude, of which this fairy 
flower is the token .' Yes, gentle reader ; when grief or trouble 
assail you for awhile, forsake the common herd ; go forth, and 
commune with Nature — ^with Nature, and with Nature's God, 
and be assured that you will return to your daily duties with 
a reinvigorated soul — ^with a mind strengthened and " prepared 
for any fate ; " and trust that 

"Not vainly may the heath-flower shed 
Its moorland fragrance round your head." 

But although solitude, dear friend, is a good tonic, taken in 
small doses and at rare intervals, beware of too great indul- 
gence in its attractions, or you may find the physic prove a 
poison after all; and, to quote Professor Blackie, you will 
learn to sigh, 

" Alone, alone, and all alone ! 
What could more lonely be ? " 

To many, wandering, perchance, in foreign lands, the Heath 
is endowed with a thousand tender recollections of the past — 
the past that never comes again; and Scottish Highlanders, 
so acutely sensible are they to the associations of home, have 
been seen to weep like children, when in their distant exile 
they have beheld a bunch of simple heather. Grant thus gives 
expression to this feeling of fondness displayed by the sturdy 
Scot for his native plant: 

" Flowers of the wild, whose purple glow 

Adorns the dusky mountain's side. 
Not the gay hues of Iris' bow. 

Nor garden's gorgeous, varied pride. 
With all its wealth of sweets, could cheer 

Like thee, the hardy mountaineer. 

24° Heath. 

' ' Flower of his dear -loved native land ! 

Alas ! when distant, far more dear ! 
When he from cold and foreign strand 

Looks homeward through the blinding tear, 
How must his aching heart deplore 

That home, and thee, he sees no more ! " 

And well may the Highlander value this lovely little blos- 
som, for not only does it brighten the bleak hill-sides of his 
mountainous home, but it also supplies many a needed house- 
hold deficiency. In olden times it formed an important in- 
gredient in his favourite drink, and even now is so used in 
some outlying districts : a fine orange dye is produced from 
its tops, boiled with alum; strong durable ropes are manu- 
factured from its fibres; and, though last, not by any means 
least, its warm elastic sprays form a sweet soft bed, whereon 
he may repose his wearied limbs : 

" Of this, old Scotia's hardy mountaineers 
Their rustic couches form ; and there enjoy 
Sleep which, beneath his velvet canopy, 

■ Luxurious idleness implores in vain." 

Charlotte Smith. 

Well does Withering remark, when speaking of the heath, 
that as the ancients were wont to repose on the leaves of poetic 
trees, not doubting their power of inspiration — as the Agnus 
cactus was fabled to compose the troubled mind, the laurel to 
excite poetic fire, or the bay to suggest martial visions — why 
may not the heather couch equally refresh the weary limbs of 
the rough mountaineer, and awaken noble sentiments in minds 
scarcely less imaginative than those of the ancient Greeks, and 
nothing lacking in credulity .'' 

The Highland heath-bed is thus described in Sir Walter 
Scott's novel of "Rob Roy:" "I remarked that Rob Roy's 
attention had extended itself to providing us better bedding 
than we had enjoyed the night before. Two of the least fra- 
gile of tfte bedsteads, which stood by the wall of the hut, had 
been stuffed with heath, then in full flower, so artifically ar- 
ranged that the flowers, being uppermost, afforded a mattress 
at once elastic and fragrant. Cloaks, and such bedding as 
could be collected, stretched over this vegetable couch, made 
it both soft and warm." 

The heath has, within the compass of a few years, risen from 

Heath. 241 

neglect to splendour. Every one remembers that Pope marks 
it with contempt, at the same time that he celebrates the colour 
of the flowers : 

"E'en the wild heath displays its purple dyes." 

Until within the last few years, scarcely half a dozen varieties 
were known, and now they are reckoned by hundreds. They 
are all beautiful, and the flowers range in hue from a purple- 
tinged rose to pure white. 

Eliza Cook has entwined some of her ever-happy lines 
around this sweet symbol of solitude : 

" Wild blossoms of the moorland, ye are very dear to me ; 
Ye lure my dreaming memory as clover does the bee ; 
Ye bring back all my childhood loved, virhen freedom, joy, and health 
Had never thought of wearing chains to fetter fame and wealth. 
Wild blossoms of the common land, brave tenants of the earth. 
Your breathings were among the first that helped my spirit's birth ; 
For how my busy brain would dream, and how my heart would bum. 
Where goise and heather flung their arms above the forest fern. 

" Who loved me then? Oh, those who were as gentle as sincere. 
Who never kiss'd my cheek so hard as when it own'd a tear. 
Whom did I love? Oh, those whose faith I never had to doubt ; 
Those who grew anxious at my sigh and smiled upon my pout. 
What did I crave? The power to rove unquestion'd at my will; 
Oh, wayward idler that I was ! — perchance I am such still. 
What did I fear? No chance or change, so that it did not turn 
My footstep from the moorland coast, the heather, and the fern. 

" Methinks it was a pleasant time, those gipsy days of mine. 
When youth with rosy magic tum'd life's waters into wine ; 
But nearly all who shared those days have pass'd away from earth, 
Pass'd in their beauty and their prime, their happiness and mirth. 
So now, rich flow'rets of the waste, I '11 sit and talk to ye, 
For memory's casket, fill'd with gems, is open'd by your key j 
And glad I am that I can grasp your blossoms sweet and wild. 
And find myself a deter yet, a dreamer, and a child." 




THIS pleasing flower, called frequently Virgin's-bower or 
Traveller's JOy, has unfortunately been adopted as the 
emblem of artifice, because, some say, beggars, in order to 
excite pity, make false ulcers — which, however, sometimes 
produce real ones — in their flesh by means of its twigs. 

Its specific name of Clematis is derived from the Greek word 
klema, signifying a small branch of a vine, because most of 
these plants climb like a vine, rambling over everything. 

By vines and boundless clematis," 

as Procter says in some of his delightful verses. 

" Traviler's joie is this same plant termed," says Gerarde, 
"as decking and adorning waies and hedges where people 
travell; virgin's-bower, by reason of the goodly shadowe which 
they make with their thick bushing and climbing, as also for 
the beautie of the floweres, and the pleasant scent and savour 
of the same ; and by country folks, ' old man's beard,' from 
the hoary appearance of the seeds, which remain long on the 

Loudon, however, considered that the name of virgin's- 
bower was probably given to this flower — introduced into 
England in 1569 — with the intention of conveying a compli- 
ment to Queen Elizabeth, who liked to be styled and alluded 
to as the " Virgin Queen." 

One species of clematis is known as Ladies'-bower, "from 
its aptness," says old Gerarde, " to make bowers or arbours 
in gardens." Keats, in his luscious poem of "Endymion," 
describes such a bower " for whispering lovers made," wherein 
a youth is sleeping : 

Clematis. 243 

" Round him grew 
All tendrils gi'een, of every bloom and hue. 
Together intertwined, and trammel'd fresh : 
The vine of glossy sprout ; the ivy-mesh, 
Shading its Ethiop berries ; and woodbine 
Of velvet leaves, and bugle blooms divine ; 
Convolvulus in streaked vases flush ; 
The creeper mellowing for an Autumn blush; 
And virgin's-bower, trailing airily. 
With others of the sisterhood." 

The profusion of elegant sweet-scented blossom with which 
the clematis decks itself during the sunny summer, as the 
autumn approaches gradually gives place to long, feathery, 
downy seeds, and these, in graceful pensile tufts, hang like 
drapery on the autumnal hedges, enlivening the roadsides long 
after flowers have vanished — not unfrequently remaining until 
the commencement of December. It seems unjust that so 
welcome a plant, which lingers so lovingly with us long after 
all its floral friends have sought the land of shadows, should 
be deemed the representative of artifice ; but the florigraphists 
have so willed it, and by their decision we must abide. The 
long feathery down attached to the seeds is made use of by 
field-mice to render their nests soft and warm, and hence they 
are frequently found at the entrance to their holes, where 

"Oft the little mouse. 
Eludes our hopes, and, safely lodged below. 
Hath formed his granaries." 



" Immortal amaranth.'' 


MOST poetical of all flowers in meaning is the Amaranth. 
Christened by the Greeks "never-fading," because of 
the lasting nature of its bloom, it has been selected as the 
symbol of immortality, and as such it has ever been associated 
with Death, significant that that is the portal through which 
the soul must pass in its search after the undying blossoms of 
Eternity. Milton assigns crowns of amaranth to the angelic 
multitude assembled before the Deity : 

"To the ground 
With solemn adoration down they cast 
Their crowns inwove with amaranth and gold. 
Immortal amaranth — a flower which once 
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, 
Began to bloom ; but soon for man's offence 
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows 
And flowers aloft, shading the font of life. 
And where the river of bliss, through midst of heaven 
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream : 
With these that never fade the spirits elect 
Bind their resplendent locks enwreath'd with beams ; 
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright 
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone, 
Impurpled with celestial rosy smile." 

Well may the amaranth's splendour be lauded, for, as Miller 
truthfully confesses, "there is not a handsomer plant than 
this in its full lustre." The author of " Flora Domestica," de- 
scribing the purple variety, says it resembles clover raised 
to an immense pitch of colour and sprinkled with grains of 
gold. And this same lady is our authority for the following 
jjaragraph : 

These flowers gathered when full-grown and dried in the 
shade will preserve their beauty for years, particularly if they 
are not exposed to the sun. A friend of the writer's possesses 

Amaranth. 245 

some amaranths, both purple and yellow, which he has had by 
him for several years, enclosed with some locks of hair in a 
little marble urn. They look as vivid as if they were put in 

Homer describes the Thessalians as wearing crowns of these 
funereal flowers at the entombment of Achilles ; and Spenser 
and Milton both class the amaranth as amongst " those flowers 
that sad embroidery wear," the brilliancy of its glowing colours 
notwithstanding. The most admired species of this plant is a 
native of the West Indies, and is called the " tricolor," on ac- 
count of its variegated hues of crimson, green, and gold. The 
Spaniards call it " the parrot," the feathers of which gaudily- 
plumed bird Gerarde considers its flowers resemble. At the 
floral games held at Toulouse — as a brilliant compliment to 
the deserver of immortality — a golden amaranth was awarded 
as prize for the best lyric composition. 

In 1633, Queen Christiana of Sweden gave an entertainment 
in honour of Don Antonio Pimentel, the Spanish ambassador. 
She appeared on this occasion in a dress covered with dia- 
inonds, and was attended by a splendid train of nobles and 
ladies. At the conclusion of the ball she stripped her attire 
of the diamonds, and distributed them among the company, 
and at the same time presented her favourite nobles with the 
insignia of a new order of knighthood, consisting of a riband 
and medal, with an amaranth in enamel, encircled with the 
motto, Dolce nella memoria. 

One of the most popular species of the amaranth is the 
" Love-lies-bleeding." The origin of this singular appellation is 
not known, but it has been suggested that the following verses 
of Moore's account for it. The daughter of O'Connor is la- 
menting over the tomb of Connocht Moran : 

" A hero's bride ! this desert bower, 
It ill befits thy gentle breeding : 
And wherefore dost thou love this flower 
To call ' my-love-lies-bleeding ' ? 

"This purple flower my tears have nursed ; 
A hero's blood supplied its bloom : 
I love it, for it was the first 

That grew on Connocht Moran's tomb." 

In Portugal and other warmer climes than ours, they adorn 

246 Amaranth 

the churches at Christmas-time with the amaranth, as an em- 
blem of that immortahty which their faith bids them look 
forward to : to the lover it is ever a symbol of undying love. 

Shelley introduces this flower into his poem of " Rosalind 
and Helen," as suitable to wear in a chaplet ; thus he says : 

" Whose sad inhabitants each year would come 

With willing steps, climbing that rugged height. 

And hang long locks of hair, and garlands bound 
With amaranth flowers, which, in the clime's despite. 
Filled the frore air with unaccustomed light. 

Such flowers as in the wintry memory bloom 

Of one friend left, adorned that frozen tomb.'' 

There is a passage in " Don Quixote," in which are depicted 
some Spanish ladies clad like beautiful shepherdesses, except 
that their bodices and petticoats were of fine brocade, theii 
habits of rich golden tabby ; they wore their hair, which 
rivalled the sun's rays in brightness, hanging loose about their 
shoulders, and their heads were crowned with garlands of green 
laurel and the scarlet blossoms of the amaranth interwoven. 

The people of the Batta country, in Sumatra or Tamara, 
when undisturbed by war, are said to lead a lazy, inactive life, 
passing the day in playing on a kind of flute, crowned with 
garlands of flowers, of which the Globe Amaranth is the 
favourite. Moore notes this partiality in his ever-blooming 
rhyme : 

" Amaranths such as crown the maids 
That wander through Tamara's shades." 

Although the amaranths are chiefly natives of America, and 
very few are supposed to grow naturally in Europe, yet Sir 
William Jones speaks of them in terms that would imply that 
they grew wild in Wales : 

"Fair Tivy, how sweet are thy waves gently flowing, 
Thy wild oaken woods and green eglantine bowers. 
Thy banks with the blush-rose and amaranth glowing, 
while friendship and mirth claim their labouiless hours." 



" The fleshly mandrake's stem, 
That shrieks when plucked at night." 


OUR ancestors attributed all kinds of wonderful properties 
to the Mandrake ; and, even now, in the countries of 
which it is a native, it is deemed typical of all kinds of dread- 
ful things. There appears to be, however, some little doubt 
as to what plant the ancients really meant when they spoke 
of the mandragora, and to which they ascribed such marvel- 
lous virtues ; but, at all events, it is certain that the root that 
passes under that name in England, and which — in order to 
gratify the superstitious fancies of the ignorant — quacks con- 
trive to contort into some resemblance to the human form, is 
only the briony, the veritable emblem of rarity, growing no 
nearer than the south of Europe. 

Amongst Oriental races the mandrake, probably on account 
of its foetid odour and venomous properties, is regarded with 
intense abhorrence ; the Arabs, Richardson says, call it " the 
devil's candle," because of its shiny appearance in the night ; 
a circumstance thus alluded to by Moore in his "Lalla Rookh:" 

" Such rank and deadly lustre dwells. 
As in those hellish fires that light 
The mandrake's chamel leaves at night." 

There is an old, deeply-rooted superstition connected with 
this ominous plant, which we have reason to believe is not yet 
altogether eradicated from the minds of the uneducated, that 
the mandrake grows up under the gallows, being nourished by 
the exhalations from executed criminals ; and that when it is 
pulled out of the ground it utters lamentable cries, as if pos- 
sessed of sensibility : 

245 Mandrake. 

" The phantom shapes — oh, touch them not — 
That appal the murderer's sight, 
Lurk in the fleshly mandrake's stem, 
That shrieks when pluck'd at night. " 

So says Moore in verse, only repeating what many have said 
gravely in prose. 

Another terrible quality imputed to this wretched plant was 
that the person pulling it out of the ground would be seriously 
injured by its pestilential effects, some even averring that 
death speedily resulted from them ; in order, therefore, to 
guard against this danger, the surrounding soil was removed, 
and the plant fastened securely to a dog, so that when the 
animal was driven away he drew up the root, and paid the 
penalty of the deed. 


" Those floweis of an azure as pure as the sky.' 


THESE beautiful little symbols of fidelity are sometimes 
called by their older name of Veronica, an abridgment 
of Vera-icon, an appellation compounded out of Latin and 
Greek, and signifying true image. This singular designation 
of the Speedwell arose from one of those quaint semi-religious 
superstitions of the middle ages, with which European tra- 
ditionary literature has been so deeply imbued. The legend 
records that the handkerchief of St. Veronica received the 
impression of the Saviour's face, as He used it to wipe away 
the perspiration from His countenance when bearing His cross 
to the place of crucifixion; and from some fancied resemblance 
in the blossom of this flower to the sacred relic, it was named 
after its sainted owner. The flowers of the speedwell are 
flesh-coloured, white, or blue, but the latter hue is most ad- 
mired. The lovely lit<"le blue Rock Speedwell is frequently 
called forget-me-not, but has no real claim to that memorable 
title : it is probably the hopeful-looking little floweret which 
Germans are so fond of planting upon graves, and to which 
these lines refer: 

" Meet offerings they are to the kind and the good, 

Those flowers of an azure as pure as the sky ; 
And these are they gathered in mournfiillest mood. 

Or planted and tended with many a sigh. 
Where friendship reposes, or love is asleep. 

Their beauty is decking the lowly green sod ; 
While heart-stricken mourners come hither to weep. 

Over her who has left them to rise to her God." 

The Germander Speedwell is a native of Europe and Japan. 
" Few of our wild flowers," remarks Mr. Martyn, " can vie in 

253 Speed well. 

elegance and beauty with this. In May and June every hedge- 
bottom and grassy slope is adorned with it." Were these the 
beaming little blossoms that Shelley mentally beheld when he 

" Where, like an infant's smile over the dead, 
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread"? 

But these bright blue emblems are not meant merely for 
fidelity to our departed dear ones. They are given us to love, 
admire, and make use of, to typify our feelings towards a nearer 
one and a dearer one than all other ; and as such, fair reader, 
may you sincerely present and accept them. 



THE white or poetical Narcissus is aptly adopted as the 
florigrapliical sign of egotism, inasmuch as, according to 
the mythologists, it owes its origin to a beautiful youth of 
Bceotia, of whom it had been foretold that he should live 
happily until he beheld his own face. One day, when heated 
by the chase, Narcissus sought to quench his thirst in a stream; 
in so doing he beheld the reflection of his own lovely features, 
of which he immediately became enamoured, and, doubtless 
as a retribution for having slighted the charms of the nymph 
Echo, the conceited lad was spellbound to the spot, where he 
pined to death, and was metamorphosed by the gods into the 
flower that now bears his name. When the Naiads had la- 
mentingly prepared the funeral pile for the beautiful youth, 
tois body was missing ; 

" Instead whereof a yellow flower was found, 
With tufts of white about the button crown'd ;" 

and ever since is seen 

" Narcissus fa:', 
As o'er the fabled fountain hanging still." 

The poetic Narcissus has a snow-white flower, with a yellow 
cup in the centre, fringed on the border with a brilliant crimson 
circlet. It is sweet-scented, and flowers in May. The cup in 
the centre is supposed to contain the tears of the ill-fated 
Narcissus, Keats terms it "a lovely flower :" 

" A meek and forlorn flower, with nought of pride." 

And Shelley gives it yet kinder and more flattering words in 
his description of the various flowers growing with the sensi- 
tive plant : in that terrestrial garden grew 

" The pied wind flowers and the tulip tall, 
/ And Narcissi, the fairest among them all, 

Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess. 
Till they die at their own dear loveliness." 



'"T^HE yellow-coloured species of the Narcissus is generally 
J. known as the Daffodil, and by this cognomen the beau- 
teous flower is more frequently addressed by the poets. By the 
early writers it was regarded as a member of the lily family, 
and it has even been conjectured that its name is nothing but 
a corruption of Dis's lily, as it is supposed to be the flower 
that dropped from Pluto's chariot when he was carrying off 
Proserpine to the infernal regions. Jean Ingelow, in the beau- 
tiful poem of " Persephone," thus introduces this flower into a 
resuscitation of the antique fable : 

" She stepped upon Sicilian grass, " What ailed the meadow that it shook? 

Demeter's daughter fresh and fair. What ailed the air of Sicily ? 

A child of light, a radiant lass, She Wondered by the brattling brook, 

And gamesome as the morning air. And trembled with the trembling lea. 

The daffodils were fair to see, ' The coal-black horses rise — they rise : 

They nodded lightly on the lea. O mother, mother!' low she cries. 

" Lo ! one she marked of rarer growth " ' O light, light ! ' she cries, ' farewell ; 

Than orchis or anemone ; The coal-black horses wait for me. 

For it the maiden left them both, O shade of shades, where I must dwell, 

And parted from her company. Demeter, mother, far from thee ! 

Drawn nigh, she deemed it fairer still. Oh, fated doom that I fulfil ! 

And stooped to gather by the riU Oh, fateful flower beside the rill ! 

The daffodil, the daffodU. The daffodil, the daffodil ! ' " 

Chaucer, the fountain-head of English poetry, alludes to this 
story in his quaint old language, and Shakspeare, who had a 
loving word for all things lovely, introduces it into his "Winter's 
Tale," in this exquisite manner: 

" O Proserpina, 
For the flowers now that, frighted, thou lett'st fall 
From Dis's wagon : daffodils 
That come before the swallow dares, and take 
The winds of March with beauty." 

Daffodil. 253 

The daffodil was a great favourite with many of the Eliza- 
bethan poets, who have left several laudatory verses upon its 
charms ; but the most admired — and deservedly so — appears 
to be Herrick's sweet address to daffodils: 

" Fair daffodils, we weep to see " We have short time to stay as ye. 

Ye haste away so soon; We have as fleet a Spring, 

As yet the early-rising sun As quick a growth to meet decay 

Has not attained his noon : As you or anything : 

Stay, stay. We die 

Until the hastening day As your hours do, and dry 

Has run Away, 

But to the even-song, Like to the Summer's rain, 

And, having prajr'd together, we Or as the pearls of morning's dew. 

Will go with ye along. Ne'er to be found again." 

Ancient writers did not omit to pay this sweet flower its due 
meed of praise, although, on account of its narcotic properties, 
they regarded it as the emhlemoi deceit ; for, although as Homer 
assures us, it delights heaven and earth with its odour and 
beauty, yet, at the same time, it produces stupor and even death. 
It was consecrated to the Eumenides, Ceres, and Proserpine, 
therefore Sophocles calls it the garland of the great goddesses ; 
and Pluto, by the advice of Venus, employed it to entice Pro- 
serpine to the lower world. 

Virgil speaks of the cup of this flower as containing the 
tears of Narcissus, and Milton, ever ready for a classic allu- 
sion, bids 

" Daffodils fill their cups with tears, 
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies." 

Amongst Eastern races the daffodil is much esteemed, the 
Persians designating it "the golden," and the Turks "the 
golden bowl." 

The Jonquil, another flowering bulb of the Narcissi family, 
was originally imported into England from Constantinople. It 
is held as an emblem of desire by the Turks, a people of whose 
floral language such an interesting account is contained in the 
fascinating letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague. 




THE Iris, typical of a message, claims the whole world as 
her country, different members of the family dwelling in 
every quarter of the globe. Some of the species have very large 
flowers, and, from their colours being very vivid, and several 
uniting in the same blossom, are extremely showy. The Per- 
sian Iris is the most esteemed for the beauty and fragrance of 
its flowers : a few of them will perfume a whole room. Their 
colours are a mixture of pale sky-blue, purple, yellow, and 
sometimes white. It is from their brilliant and diversified hues, 
resembling those of the rainbow, that they have been named 
after the messenger of the gods. It is well known that the fair 
Iris was the bearer of good news only. 

The Chalcedonian Iris has also very large flowers, and is 
deemed the most magnificent of them all ; but the petals are 
very thin, and hang in a kind of slatternly manner, making 
it appear to some persons less handsome than others which 
are smaller. This flower is termed by old writers the Turkish 
Flower-de-L uce. 

The common Yellow Iris is generally called the Flag. This, 
and several of its kindred, have valuable medicinal and mer- 
cantile uses, whilst the seeds are the best substitute for coffee 
hitherto discovered. The juice is sometimes used as a cosmetic 
for removing freckles, and a most lovely colour for painting is 
prepared from its blossom. 

Many of the African kinds of this flower, Mr. Martyn tells 
us, " are eaten both by men and monkeys." 

Although the iris is not deemed a lily, the French have given 
it the name of one : it is the veritable J?^«r-rff-/w which figured 
in the former arms of France. 

Irts. 255 

The conjectured origin of this name is thus detailed by the 
Abbe la Pluche in his "Spectacle de la Nature:" 

The upper part of one leaf of the lily, when fully expanded, 
and the two contiguous leaves, beheld in profile, have a faint 
likeness to the top of the flower-de-luce; so that the original 
flywer-de-luce, which often appears in the crowns and sceptres 
in the monuments of the first and second races of kings, was 
most probably a composition of these three leaves. Lewis VII. 
engaged in the second crusade ; distinguished himself, as was 
customary in those times, by a particular blazon, and took this 
figure for his coat of arms ; and as the common people gene- 
rally contracted the name of Lewis into " Luce," it is natural 
to imagine that this flower was, by corruption, distinguished in 
process of time by the name oi flower-de-Luce. 

Some antiquarian Dryasdusts object to this floral origin of 
the French arms, and are of opinion they represent three toads, 
and that these, becoming odious to the people, were gradually 
transmogrified into the lilies of France ! 

The German peasantry are fond of cultivating z. fleur-de-lis, 
sometimes called Iris Germanica, on the roofs of their cottages. 
In alluding to this custom, in an old "Language of Flowers," it 
is stated that " when the wind waves its beautiful flowers, and 
the sun gilds their petals, tinged with gold, purple, and azure, 
it looks as if light flames were playing on the top of those 
rustic dwellings." 

The flag is prettily pictured by Charlotte Smith as 

"Amid its waving swords, in flaming gold 
The iris towers." 

This plant is spoken of in Exodus as affording a hiding- 
place for the infant Moses ; but it is impossible to decide upon 
its identity with the common English flag, to which Shakspeare 
and many of our older poets so frequently advert in their 

The fleur-de-lis, deemed typical of a flame, or as denoting 
"I burn" is thus beautifully presented by the author of "Christ's 
Victorie :" 

" The flowers-de-luce and the round sparks of dew 
That hung upon their azure leaves, did show 
Like t^vinkliIlg that sparkle in the evening blue." 



"The violet is for modesty." 


VIOLETS, considered by some, including Scotia's shepherd 
bard, typical of modesty, by others are deemed emble- 
matic oi faithfulness ; and the latter have the support of one 
of Shakspeare's contemporary poets : 

"Violet is for faithfulness, 
Which in me shall abide ; 
Hoping likewise that from your heart 
You will not let it slide." 

The rank which this timid little blossom holds in floral 
caligraphy is a very exalted one ; indeed, the rose excepted, 
there is not a flower that "tolls its perfume on the passing air," 
which is so generally admired and belauded. From Homer 
down to Tennyson, not a famous poet but has linked its 
sweetness with his own, and many are the lovely ideas its 
beauty and fragrance have suggested. 

" The violet was as proud a device of the Ionic Athenians," 
says a well-known author, " as the rose of England and the 
lily of France. In all seasons it was to be seen exposed for 
sale in the market-place at Athens, the citizens being success- 
ful in rearing it in their gardens even when the ground was 
covered with snow." 

These Greeks, who peopled the petals of every blossom and 
the ripples of every rill with the graceful offspring of their 
fancy, designated this floweret Ion, which name some enter- 
prising etymologists believe to be a derivation of la, the 
daughter of Midas and the betrothed of Atys, whom, they say, 
to conceal her from Apollo, Diana transformed into a violet. 
Other mythological accounts state that Jupiter caused the first 

Violet. 257 

sweet violets to spring from the earth as food for persecuted 
lo, whilst she was hiding, under the form of a white heifer, from 
the fury of Juno. 

Others derive the origin of its name from, the word via, a 
"wayside," whence its perfume often greets the wanderer. 
Lorenzo de Medici, in a sonnet addressed to Venus, suggests 
that the admired flowerling sprang from her empurpled blood ; 
but we know not what authority he had beyond the usual 
licence of poets for thus tampering with classic fable. 

The Latin race did not neglect this minstrel's darling ; and 
it has been remarked that if the far-famed roses of Paestuni, 
which bloomed twice in the year, and of which " now a Virgil, 
now an Ovid sang," did arrest the voyager on his course by their 
delicious odours, those odours might also have received some 
of their sweetness from these flowers; for those gardens of 
Paestum equally boasted of their violets ; " which," as Rogers 
says in a note to a passage in his " Pleasures of Memory," 
" were as proverbial as the roses, and mentioned by Martial.'' 
How changed is that renowned place ! All that now remains 
of its ancient glory are its flowers, and still 

"The air is sweet with violets running wild, 
'Mid broken sculptures and fallen capitals." 

The Romans, who much used a wine made from the violets, 
seemed to think that they could never have enough of its per- 
fume ; and they are censured by Horace for neglecting their 
fruitful olive-groves for beds of violets, myrtles, and " all the 
wilderness of sweets." 

The poetry, the romance, and the scenery of many a clime 
is closely associated with this enthralling floweret : it is found 
in almost all parts of the world, and even in Persia — "the 
garden of Gul " — it disputes the palm of supremacy with the 
rose. It is supposed to have been discovered first in Europe, 
but now perfumes the songs of all literatures and the gardens 
of all cilmes. Apart from its beauty and fragrance, it is highly 
esteemed for its medicinal virtues, and the finest sherbet of the 
Mahommedans is said to be concocted of violets and sugar. 
Lane gives his testimony to the delicious flavour of this drink, 
and Tavernier says that it is drunk by the Grand Signer himself 

One tradition asserts that Mahomet said, " The excellence 


258 Violet. 

of the extract of violets above all other extracts is as the ex- 
cellence of me above all the rest of the creation : it is cold in 
summer, and it is hot in winter ;" whilst another legend hath 
that " the excellence of the violet is as the excellence of El 
Islam above all other religions." 

Arabic and Persian poets oft and o'er pluck similes from the 
petals of this perfumed blossom. Ebu Abrumi, an Arabian 
poet, uses a very trite comparison when he likens blue eyes 
weeping to violets bathed in dew. Amongst our English poets 
who have illustrated this image is Elizabeth Browning : 

" Dear violets, you liken to 
The kindest eyes that look on you 
Without a thought disloyal. " 

And in the following lines on a faded violet, Shelley embodies 
the same pretty fancy : 

" The colour from the flower is gone, 

Which like thy sweet eyes smil'd on me ; 
The odour from the flow'r is flown, 
Which breathed of thee, and only thee 1 

" A wither'd, lifeless, vacant form. 
It lies on my abandoned breast. 
And mocks the heart which yet is warm, 
With cold and silent rest. 

" I weep — my tears revive it not ; 

I sigh — it breathes no more on me ; 
Its mute and uncomplaining lot 
Is such as mine should be." 

The same poetic comparison is employed by Shakspeare in 
the " Winter's Tale : " 

"Violets dim. 
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes, 
Or Cytherea's breath." 

The frequent allusions made to " the nodding violet " by the 
great dramatist causes it to be regarded as his favourite flower; 
and that, in the eyes of many, will not be one of its slightest 
charms. There is no more exquisite passage in the whole 
range of English poesy than that in " Twelfth Night," where 
the Uuke, listening to plaintive music, desires 

" That strain again ; it had a dying fall : 
Oh, it came o'er my ear like the sweet South, 
Tiiat breathes upon a bank of violets. 
Stealing and giving odour." 

Violet. 259 

Many are the passages in which the bard of Avon employs 
his beloved flower as the type of modesty and maidenhood. 
Indeed, poets are continually using this retiring blossom to 
emblemize those qualities. 

" Steals timidly away, 
Shrinking as violets do in Summer's ray," 

says the author of " Lalla Rookh." Keats delighted to paint 

little secluded sylvan bowers "where violet-beds were nestling;" 

and the following lines, by the Rev. John Moultrie, give a pretty 

picture of the sort of place where these sweet flowers may be 

found : 

" Under the green hedges after the snow. 
There do the dear little violets grow. 
Hiding their modest and beautiful heads 
Under the hawthorn in soft mossy beds. 

" Sweet as the roses, and blue as the sky, 
Down there do the dear little violets lie. 
Hiding their heads where they scarce may be seen ; 
By the leaves you may know where the violet hath been." 

Bernard Barton, in " Poetic Vigils," speaks of the " unob- 
trusive worth and meek content" of these modest blossoms, 
prompting them to bless the passer-by with fragrance, and in 
mute eloquence express their timid thoughts. In her " Gossip 
with a Bouquet," Mrs. Sigourney first addresses herself to "you, 
meek violet, with your eyes of blue." The venerable and vene- 
rated Barry Cornwall, whose beautiful lyrics are sweet as the 
hopes of youth and the memories of old age, has continually 
expressed his love for " violets, whose looks are like the skies," 
and in the following stanza even assigns it the first rank in 
Flora's fragrant Court : 

" The king told Gyges of the purple flower ; 

It chanced to be the flower the boy liked most : 
It has a scent as though Love, for its dowei. 

Had on it all his odorous arrows tost ; 
For though the rose has more perfuming power. 

The violet — ^haply 'cause 't is almost lost. 
And takes us so much trouble to discover — 
Stands first with most, but always with a lover." 

This same delicate poet, whose sonrs seem almost too sweet 
for singing, has favoured us with this fairy lyric to the violet : 

17 — 2 

26o Violet. 

" I love all things the seasons bring, 
AU buds that open, birds that sing, 

All hues from white to jet ; 
AU the sweet words that Summer sends 
When she recalls her flowery friends, 
But chief— the violet. 

-'I love — how much I love! — the rose. 
On whose soft lips the south wind blows 

In pretty, amorous threat ; 
The lily paler than the moon. 
The odorous, wondrous world of June, 

Yet more— the violet 1 

" She comes, the first, the fairest thmg 
That Heaven upon the earth doth fling, 

Ere Winter's star has set : 
She dwells behind her leafy screen. 
And gives, as angels give, unseen, 

So, love — the violet. 

"What modest thoughts the violet teaches, 
What gracious boons the violet preaches, 

Bright maiden, ne'er forget ! 
But learn, and love, and so depart. 
And sing thou, with thy wiser heart, 
' Long live the violet !' " 

Quaint old Paracelsus, who has been so much misunderstood, 
not only by his own, but by many successive generations of 
scoffers, once propounded a division of plants according to 
their particular odours, and presuming the possibility of such 
an arrangement, few, if any, flowers could claim a higher place 
than the modest violet. 

It has been justly remarked that if we miss in our native 
plants something of the gorgeousness of more tropical flowers, 
we are more than compensated by the variety and delicacy of 
their perfume : the scented airs floating over a fragrant " bank 
of violets, stealing and giving odour," would amply repay the 
loss of all the gaudy floral treasures of the vaunted tropics. 

At the floral games instituted at Toulouse, in 1323, by a 
lady named Clemence Isaure, whilst the gallant troubadours 
were in the heyday of their glory, a golden violet — "the 
glorious flower which bore the prize away " — was the recom- 
pence annually awarded to the author of the best poem. The 
fair founder of the renowned pastimes is represented as sending, 
during a weary imprisonment, her chosen flower, the violet, to 
her knight, that he might wear the emblem of her constancy. 

Violet. « 261 

These games, discontinued during the French Revolution, were 
revived in 1808, and, although necessarily shorn of much of 
their ancient glory, are still celebrated with considerable splen- 
dour: they attained their 5 58th anniversary this year. 

" The Golden Violet " prize was the theme of one of poor 
L. E. L.'s pathetic stories. She tells us she deemed that 

"No flowers grew in the vale. 
Kissed by the dew, wooed by the gale — 
None by the dew of the twilight wet, 
So sweet as the deep blue violet." 

And expresses the wish that 

" When the grave shall open for me — 
I care not how soon that time may be- 
Never a rose shall grow on that tomb, 
It breathes too much of hope and bloom; 
But there be that flower's meek regret. 
The bending and deep blue violet. '' 

Whilst the first Napoleon was in exile, this little blossom 
was adopted by his followers as an emblem : he was styled 
Le Pkre la Violette, and a small bunch of violets hung up in 
the house, or worn by a Frenchman, denoted the adherence of 
the wearer to his fallen chieftain's caiise. 

The White Violet, which is not invariably scentless, as is 
sometimes erroneously presumed, is emblematic of candour, 
although some authors adopt it as the representative of inno- 

Caroline Bowles, speaking of various sorts of violets growing 
in her garden, says, 

" The more fragrant white, 
E'en from that very root, in many a patch 
Extended wide, still scents the garden round." 

" The primrose 



I will pu', the firstling of the year." 


THE Primrose, emblematical oi youth, has received innu- 
merable deservedly warm encomiums from our poets, 
but none sweeter than those popular lines of Robert Herrick: 

" Ask me why I send you here " Ask me why this flower doth show 

This firstling of the infant year; So yellow, green, and sickly too; 

Ask me why I send to you Ask me why the stalk is weak 

This primrose all bepearl'd with dew ; And bending, yet it doth not break ; 

I stiaight will whisper in your ears, I must tell you, these discover 

The sweets of love are wash'd with What doubts and fears are in a lover." 

This pretty lyric is only one out of many which go to prove 
that their quaint old bard was not altogether unacquainted 
with the natural language of flowers. Shakspeare, who was 
as conversant with this florigraphical system as he was with 
every other mode of exciting human interest, thus daintily 
introduces this delicate blossom into his pathetic drama of 
" Cymbeline," as typical of the youthful dead : 

" With fairest flowers, 
Whilst Summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele, 
1 '11 sweeten thy sad grave : thou shalt not lack 
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose." 

Again, in the "Winter's Tale," the grand dramatist still 
more explicitly portrays his knowledge of its symbolic cha- 

" The pale primroses, 
That die unmarried ere they can behold 
Bright Phoebus in his strength." 

Milton also styles this vernal bloom " the pale primrose." It 
has already been seen described by Herrick as " the firstling 

Primrose. 263 

of spring ;" thus also does Burns term it in " The Posie," and 
thus also did Linnaeus appropriately name it in his botanical 
system; whilst in his native Swedish it is known as Maj-nycklar, 
or the " key of May." Its English appellation is derived from 
primus — " the first " — and happily expresses one of its charms. 
If we value the autumn flowers because they are the last, 
because they are soon to leave us, still more do we delight to 
welcome the blossoms of spring. 

This fragile flower is known classically as Paralisos, and was 
thus styled in commemoration of a youth so named, who pined 
away with grief for the loss of his betrothed, Melicerta, and 
was metamorphosed into 

" The rathe primrose that, forsaken, dies." 

There are many varieties of the wild primrose of our island 
which are not pale-coloured. In the northern counties is often 
found the Bird's-eye Primrose, lilac hued and musky scented ; 
and in Scotland there is a species of a purple nearly as deep- 
hued as the garden auricula. Of course, the best known and 
most beloved blossom is the Sulphur-coloured Primrose. It is 
tlie primrose: it it is, which we associate with cowslips and 
the meadows; it it is, which shines like an earth-star from the 
grass by the brook-side, lighting the hand to pluck it. We do 
indeed give the name of primrose to the other flowers, but we do 
this in courtesy. We feel that they are not the primroses of our 
youth; not the primroses with which we have played at bo-peep 
in the woods ; not the irresistible primroses which have so often 
lured our young feet into the wet grass, and procured us 
coughs and chidings. There is a sentiment in flowers ; there 
are flowers we cannot look upon, or even hear named, without 
recurring to something that has an interest in our hearts : such 
are the primrose, the May-flower, and the daisy. 

Yes ! such a blossom is this, of which Isaak Walton once 
beautifully remarked, " When I last sat on this primrose-bank, 
and looked down these meadows, I thought of them as Charles 
the Emperor did of Florence, that they were too pleasant to 
be looked on but only on holidays !" 

It is wonderful how strong is the affection entertained for 
those flowers 

" That dwell beside our paths and homes,'' 

264 Primrose. 

by emigrants on foreign shores. Disregarding the gorgeous 
blooms that flaunt their m.agnificence around them, Britons, 
sojourning in those golden climes wearily sigh for the humble 
blossoms that scent the fields of their native land. Who does 
not remember the tremendous excitement that took place in 
Australia upon the arrival of the first primrose from old Eng- 
land .'' What conflicting emotions must its pallid petals have 
aroused in the bosoms of many of its beholders ! what mingled 
feelings of pleasure and pain ! what thoughts of the bygone 
j'outh passed in the far-away natal isle, must have been stirred 
up under the seeming calmness of those bronzed countenances! 
Who amongst those dwellers in that distant clime but would 
willingly have purchased the fragile flowerling with the loss of 
the most- superb member of Australia's floral family ! 

Englishmen strive not only to carry their manners and 
customs with them wherever they go, but many of them even 
try to give to surrounding nature a look of home — sweet home — 
by planting native flowers and shrubs in the neighbourhood of 
their dwellings. Sir John Hobhouse is said to have discovered 
an Englishman's residence on the shores of the Hellespont by 
the character of the surrounding plants. It is observed that an 
Anglo-Indian, in the midst of all his Oriental magnificence, 
deems a root of primroses or a tuft of British violets one of the 
highest luxuries attainable. 

How tenderly does the great Lord Bacon, in his quaintly 
beautiful " Essay on Gardening," recommend these gentle 
flowers, " for they are sweet, and prosper in the shade," a quality 
which Mayne also notices in them: 

" The primrose, tenant of the glade, 
Emblem of virtue in the shade. " 

It has been observed of poor Clare that his poems are as 
thickly strewn with primroses as the woodlands themselves. 
In his "Village Minstrel" he sings: 

" Oh, who can speak his joys when Spring's young mom 
From wood and pasture oppned on his view, 
When tender green buds bUish upon the thorn, 
And the first primrose dips his leaves in dew ! 

" And while he plucked the primrose in its pride, 
lie pondered o'er its bloom 'tween joy and pain; 
And a rude sonnet in its praise he tried, 

Where nature's simple way the aid of art supplied." 

Primrose. 265 

In another portion of his artless verse he tells, how, as a 
child, he rambled o'er the fields for flowers, and 

" Robbed every primrose-root I met, 
And ofttimes got the root to set ; 
And joyful home each nosegay bore; 
And felt — as I shaiJ feel no more. " 

In the following lines the old poet, Browne, associates this 
flower with a scene of rustic idle thoughtlessness : 

" As some wayfaring man, passing a wood, 
Goes jogging on, and in his mind nought hath. 
But how the primrose finely strews the patli," 

And the sketch is suggestive of Wordsworth's oft-quoted 
idea, in "Peter Bell:" 

" A primrose by a river's brim 
A yellow primrose was to him, 
And it was nothing more." 

To Mrs. Heman's ever-faithful muse, however, we must turn 
for a full description of this offspring of the youthful year, and 
of its favourite haunts : 

" I saw it in my evening walk, " And then, methought, viith bashful pride 

A little lonely flower ; She seemed to sit and look 

Under a hollow bank it grew, On her own maiden loveliness. 

Deep in a mossy bower. Pale imaged in the brook. 

" An oak's gnarl'd root to roof the cave " No other flower, no rival grew 
With gothic fretwork sprang, Beside my pensive maid ; 

1\'hence jewell'd fem, and arum-leaves, She dwelt alone, a cloister'd nun. 
And ivy garlands hung. In solitude and shade. 

" And close beneath came sparkling out " No ruffling wind could reach her thers; 

From an old tree's fallen shell No eye, methought, but mine, 

A little rill that dipt about Or the young lambs that came to drink, 

The lady in her cell. Had spied her secret shrine. 

" And there was pleasantness to me 
In such belief — cofd eyes 
That shght dear Nature's loveluiess. 
Profane her mysteries. " 



" Whose white investments figure innocence." 


THE flower which, next to the rose, appears to have re- 
ceived the most attention from the poets is the Daisy. 
It may seem strange that a Httle scentless floweret hke this 
should have obtained so many plaudits ; but Montgomery 
most probably guesses the real cause of its popularity when 
he sings 

*' The rose has but a Summer reign ; 
The daisy never dies." 

Formerly "the poet's darling" was termed the "e'e of dale," 
and under that name Chaucer speaks of it; by the time the 
Elizabethan school arose, it was known as the "day's eye," 
from which title to its present appellation the transition was 

This little "silver shield" is known to the French as Mar- 
guerite, or "the pearl;" and at the banquet given in celebra- 
tion of the marriage of Charles the Bold of Burgundy witli the 
Princess Margaret of England, its name allowed it to be made 
use of to pay a very pretty compliment to the princely pair. 
Amongst other clever automata introduced upon the occasion 
was a large unicorn, bearing on its back a leopard, emblema- 
tical of the supporters of the two nations: the latter animal 
held in one claw the standard of Engjand, and in the other a 
daisy, or Marguerite. After the toy had gone the round of 
the tables, one of the stewards took the little blossom from 
the leopard's claw, and presented it, with a laudatory address, 
to the royal bridegroom. 

According to the classic account, this little flower owed its 

Daisy. 267 

origin to Belides, one of the dryads, the nymphs who presided 
over woodlands. It is fabled that whilst this damsel was dancing 
with her favoured suitor, Ephigeus, she attracted the attention 
of Vertumnus, the guardian deity of orchards ; and it was in 
order to shelter her from his pursuit that she was transformed 
into BceIUs, or the daisy. In Macpherson's exquisite rendering 
of Ossian, there is a passage of great beauty, wherein a yet 
more celestial origin is assigned to this nestling of nature. 
The grand old Gaelic poet feigns that the daisy was first sown 
above a baby's grave by the dimpled hands of infantine angels. 
Wordsworth, in some fine verses to the daisy, tells us how 
he did " sit at ease and weave a web of similes," and call by 
" many a fond and idle name" this tiny twinkling earth-star; 
he compares it to 

" A nun demure, of lowly port, " A little Cyclops, with one eye, 

Or sprightly maiden of Love's court. Staring to threaten and defy ; 

In thy simplicity the sport That thought comes next — and instantly 

Of all temptations ; The freak is over. 

" A queen in crovm of rubies dress'd ; " The shape will vanish, and behold ! 

A starveling in a scanty vest ; A silver shield with boss of gold. 

Are all, as seem to suit thee best, That spreads itself, some fairy bold 

Thy appellations. In fight to cover." 

Many other poets have likened the daisy to various other 
sweet things — real and ideal. In France, lovers, who evi- 
dently believe with poor L. E. L. that " flowers were made for 
Love's interpreters," use it for the prognostication of their fu- 
ture lot, in the following manner : gathering a daisy, they com- 
mence plucking its leaflets off, saying with each one, " Does 
he love me .' — a little — much — passionately — not at all !" and 
as the floret decides, such will be the lot of the experimen- 
talist. In England the marygold, and in Germany the star- 
flower or aster, is generally used for a similar purpose. 

"The daisy's for simplicity and unaffected air," remarks 
Robert Burns, in "The Posie," of which collection of floral 
emblems Professor Wilson states that Meleager's " Heliodora's 
Garland " is a prototype, so true is it that there is nothing new 
under the sun. 

In the days of chivalry, a knight, when an accepted lover, 
was permitted by his ladye faire to engrave a daisy upon his 
arms ; but when the damsel would not give an " ay" or a " nay " 

268 Daisy. 

to his suit, but rather preferred to "tarry longer in love's 
flowery way," she wreathed her head with a coronet of wild 
daisies, to intimate that she would think of it. 

A young poetess of considerable promise, and to whose un- 
timely death we have already had occasion to allude, on the 
last time she ever used her pen, composed the following affect- 
ing address to daisies : 

'• Thick set the English daisies grow, 
Tlie close fresh turf between ; 
On breezy downs, on meadows low, 
In lawns, upon the banked hedgerow, 
Star-white, 'mid pastures green. 

" Daisies that flower in gardens neat. 

And archly gay and bright, 

Outvie with cultured prirri conceit 

Their paler sisters, wild and sweet, 

Witli blossoms red and white. 

" Braving in the young year tl^e rains 
And cold, with gentle duty. 
Daisies they wait for Summer gains, 
And win them — nought of Spring remains, 
Saving their simple beauty. 

" Outliving all blue violet bands. 

And ev'iy early comer, 
Till children thread with sun-browned hands . 
The daisy-chains from- flov/'ring lands 

In the sunny days of Summer. 

" Daisies, they live in deathless rhymes 
'Mid songs by poets given ; 
Nor blight nor Winter mar their chimes ; 
Merrily live for future times, 
fadeless as flower in heaven." 

Ei.LA Ingram. 



"The thistle shall bloom on the bed of the brave." 


AS the national emblem of Scotia, the Thistle has been 
celebrated, far and wide, by the many bards of its 
brave people. Some florigraphists have used this symbol of 
independence as the representative of surliness, because the 
motto — Nemo me impune lacessit, " Nobody molests me with 
impunity " — is combined with the blossom of the thistle in the 
decoration of the Scottish order named after this plant, as, 
indeed, it is in all the national emblems. 

The motto, however, is scarcely so appropriate for this token- 
flower as it would be for some of its well-armed relatives, the 
thistle which is really depicted upon the Scottish badges being 
the Melancholy Thistle, a far less dangerous foe than others 
of the family. There is some little doubt as to how this flower 
was first adopted by the Scottish race, some patriotic authors 
going back to the days of the Picts in order to trace the origin 
of its use, and adducing a romantic legend in proof of the 
antiquity of the custom. Be this as it may, the Plantagenets 
were not prouder of the broom than were the Stuarts of their 
thistle ; and princes of the royal house were wont to wear the 
Cliias-au-pheidh, as it is called in Gaelic, with all the respect 
that its presumed antique and honourable history entitled it 
to. The poets of Scotland are ever ready to pay it homage, 
and the following thoroughly characteristic poem, to be found 
in Hogg's "Jacobite Relics," is supposed to have been written 
by the Ettrick Shepherd himself : 

" Let them boast of the country gave Patrick his fame, 
Of the land of the ocean and Anglian name. 

With the red blushing roses and shamrock so green; 

270 Thistle. 

Far dearer to me are the hills of the North, 
The land of blue mountains, the birthplace of worth ; 
Those mountains where Freedom has fixed her abode. 
Those wide-spreading glens where no slave ever trode. 
Where blooms the red heather and thistle so green. 

" Though rich be the soil where blossoms the rose. 
And barren the mountains and covered with snows 

Where blooms the red heather and thistle so green ; 
Yet for friendship sincere, and for loyalty true, 
And for courage so bold which no foe could subdue, 
Unmatched is our country, unrivall'd our swains. 
And lovely and true are the nymphs on our plains, 

Where rises the thistle, the thistle so green. 

" Far-famed are our sires in the battles of ybre, 
And many the caimies that rise on our shore 

O'er the foes of the land of the thistle so green; 
And many a caimie shall rise on our strand. 
Should the torrent of war ever burst on our land. 
Let foe come on foe, as wave comes on wave. 
We '11 give them a welcome, we '11 give them a gra^-e 

Beneath the red heather and thistle so green. 

" Oh, dear to our souls as the blessings of Heaven 
Is the freedom we boast, is the land that we live in. 

The land of red heather, and thistle so green ; 
For that land and that freedom our fathers have bled, 
And we swear by the blood that our fathers have shed. 
No foot of a foe shall e'er tread on their grave ; 
But the thistle shall bloom on the bed of the brave, 

The thistle of Scotland, the thistle so green." 

There appears to be no proof of this sturdy flower having' 
been adopted as the symbol of Scotland earlier than the middle 
of the fifteenth century, when a puritanic council held a solemn 
consultation within the walls of the old Council-house at Edin- 
burgh as to the advisability of erasing the papistic figure of St. 
Giles — which for so many centuries had been triumphantly 
borne through the battle and the breeze — from the old standard : 
religious animosity gained the day, and the time-honoured 
figure of the saint was replaced by the melancholy thistle. 

Old Culpepper indulges in some of his usual quaint and 
querulous humbug over this particular member of the thistle 
family. "It is," he says, " under Capricorn, and therefore under 
both Saturn and Mars : one rids melancholy by sympathy, the 
other by antipathy. Their virtues are but few, but those are 
not to be despised ; for the decoction of the thistle in wine being 
drank, expels superfluous melancholy out of the body, and 

Thistle. 271 

makes a man as merry as a cricket. Superfluous melancholy 
causeth care, fear, sadness, despair, envy, and many more evils 
besides; but religion teaches us to wait upon God's providence, 
and cast our care upon Him that careth for us. What a fine 
thing were it if men and women could live so ! and yet seven 
years' care and fear makes a man never the wiser nor a farthing 
the richer. Discorides saith, ' the root borne about one doth the 
like, and removes all diseases of melancholy.' Modern writers 
laugh at him; 'let them laugh that win;' my opinion is, that 
it is the best remedy against all diseases that grow; they that 
please may use it." 

There ! after all, one may get a grain or two of corn out of 
the old astrologer's chaff, despite his leaving us in doubt as 
to whether laughter, or thistle-root, supplies his panacea. The 
Spear Thistle has been termed the emblem of beneficence, be- 
cause, says a botanical writer, "if a heap of clay be thrown 
up, nothing would grow upon it for many years, were it not 
that the seeds of this friendly plant, wafted thither by the 
wind, speedily vegetate, and, throwing wide their deep green 
leaves, which are cotton underneath and hairy above, form a 
cover for lesser plants. Beautiful flowers soon mantle the 
otherwise unsightly heap of clay; the small blue forget-me- 
not, the mouse-ear hawkweed, one of the loveliest of ' Flora's 
watches,' with her numerous relatives of wood and wall; the 
eye-bright and wild bugle grow there profusely, as also many 
a meek-eyed sister, who peeps from beneath the leaves of the 
guardian thistle," 

The Lily. 


ALTHOUGH this flower — dedicated to Juno, Queen of 
Heaven — is generally deemed typical of majesty, there 
are many varied meanings given to the numerous members of 
its family, and such significations will be either pointed oi;t 
separately under their respective headings, or will be found 
altogether in their proper place at the end of this volume. 

The Lily is held in high esteem by many for the frequency 
with which it is alluded to in the Scriptures. The Jews enter- 
tained a great admiration for its elegant form, which they 
imitated in the decorations of their first magnificent Temple ; 
and Christ Himself told them to " consider the lilies of the 
field," describing them to His listeners as more glorious in their 
unadorned simplicity than was their favourite monarch Solo- 
mon, when arrayed in all his most gorgeous apparel. Horace 
Smith thus avails himself of the text : 

" 'Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory, 

Arrayed,' the lilies cry, 'in robes like ours.' 
How vain their grandeur ! ah, how transitory 
Are human flowers ! " 

The varieties of this graceful flower are extremely numerous, 
although, according to the old fabulists, originally there was 
only one kind of lily, and that was orange-coloured. They 
give some marvellous stories to account for its many shapes 
and tints, which, now-a-days, are as varied as are the hues of 
the rainbow. One legend tells that Jove, being desirous of 
rendering the infant Hercules immortal, caused Somnus to 
prepare a nectareous sleeping-draught, which he administered 
to Juno, who soon fell into a profound slumber. Whilst the 
Mother of the Gods was in this condition, Jove placed the 
babe to her breast, in order that it might imbibe the divine 

The Lily. 273 

milk that would ensure its immortality. The little Hercules, 
in his over-eagerness, drew the milk too quickly, and some 
drops falling to the earth, the white lily, emblematical oi purity, 
immediately sprang up. 

Throughout Spain and Italy the ■white lily is emblematic ol 
the Virgin's purity, and is frequently used to decorate her 
shrine : in nearly every Catholic country it is especially dedi- 
cated to her. 

It is stated that the ladies upon the continent have held in 
high favour, for many years, a certain cosmetic prepared from 
the blossoms of this lily, and amongst Orientals it is cherished, 
not only on account of its variety and beauty of colour, but 
also for the sake of the exquisite perfume yielded by many 
members of its species. 

Moore, in " Lalla Rookh," finds occasion to deduce many 
sweet similes from the lily tribe, and, amongst others, from the 
glorious Persian Lily, celebrated for its gorgeous golden hue, 
and from the Indian lotus, famous for its bright roseate tint. 

The Victoria Regina, so named by Dr. Lindley in honour 
of the Queen, may be considered as the most magnificent of 
all lilies, if not, indeed, of all flowers. Its gorgeous, snowy, 
blush-tinted blossoms attain four feet, and its enormous leaves 
eighteen feet of circumference ! No typical meaning has as 
yet been assigned to this suberb flower, doubtless from the 
fact of its great size precluding all idea of its being used for 
any human decorative purpose. 

That the lily anciently grew in Egypt is testified by the 
hieroglyphics, among which it appears. It was doubtless full 
of meaning to those wise Egyptians, as it was to the ancients 
generally. The fact of its hieroglyphical representation is 
sufficient to prove this ; for these picture words are all 
fraught with deep significance, although many of them are 
hard to comprehend, the most learned diff'ering as to their 
real import. 

An heraldic work, published in France, gives the following 
singular and interesting account of the lily as an emblem : It 
is the symbol of divinity, of purity, of abundance, and of love ; 
most complete in perfection, charity, and benediction ; as that 
mirror of chastity, Susanna, is defined Susa, which signifies the 
" lily-flower," the chief city of the Persians bearing that name 


274 The Lily. 

for excellency. Hence the lily's three leaves, in the arms of 
France, meaneth piety, justice, and charity. The following 
pretty legend is related, and devoutly believed in, by the in- 
habitants of the Hartz Mountains, of the night-blooming lily 
of Lauenberg. 

Beautiful Alice dwelt with her widowed mother in a small 
cottage at the foot of the Hartz Mountains. Her principal 
occupation was that of gathering forest straw — that is, the 
foliage of- the pine and fir tribe, which is very much used in 
certain parts of Germany as a stuffing for beds, &c. Thus was 
the pretty maiden occupied when the lord of Lauenberg 
Castle rode by. With wily words he extolled her looks, and 
swore that she was too pretty a blossom to be hid in a peasant's 
humble cot, and begged her to come and dwell in his lordly 
castle, where she would have nothing to do but command, and 
where all would obey her commands. 

The simple girl was dazzled by the brilliant prospect, but, 
true in her simplicity, flew to her mother, and related all that 
had transpired. The terrified mother wept bitterly over her 
darling's communication ; for too well she knew the character 
of Lauenberg's dissolute baron. Hastily packing up her few 
household treasures, she carried off" her wondering and sorrow- 
ful child to the shelter of a neighbouring convent, within whose 
sacred walls she believed poor Alice might rest in security. 
Not long, however, had the simple country girl been immured 
in the holy edifice laefore the enraged nobleman discovered her 
retreat, and, determined to obtain his prey, assembled his 
vassals, forced an entrance into the convent, and, seizing the 
object of his licentious passion, bore her, half dead with dread, 
to his castle. 

On arriving, at midnight, in the garden in front of his em- 
battled dwelling, he alighted with his senseless burden in his 
arms ; but, as he attempted to enter the castle, the guardian 
spirits of the place snatched the poor maiden out of his grasp, 
and on the very spot where her feet had been, sprang up the 
beautiful lily of Lauenberg. 

The annual appearance of the lily at midnight is anxiously 
looked forward to by the inhabitants of the Hartz, and many 
of them are said to perform a nightly pilgrimage to see it, 
returning to their homes overpowered with its dazzling beauty, 

The Lily. 275 

and asserting that its splendour is so great that it sheds beams 
of light on the valley below. 

The following affecting sketch, in which the lily plays a 
part, is given by Lady Herbert, in her "Impressions of Spain." 
" In a cemetery near Seville is a very beautiful though simple 
marble cross, on which is engraved these lines in Spanish: 

' I believe in God ; 
I hope for God ; 
I love God.' 

It is the grave of a poor boy, the only son of a widow. He 
was not exactly an idiot, but what people call a natural. Good, 
simple, humble, every one loved him; but no one could teach 
him anything. . . He could remember nothing. In vain the 
poor mother put him first at school, and then to a trade; he 
could not learn. At last, in despair, she took him to a neigh- 
bouring monastery, and implored the abbot, who was a most 
charitable man, to take him in and treat him as a lay brother. 
Touched by her grief, the abbot consented, and the boy entered 
the convent. There all possible pains were taken by the monks 
to give him at least some ideas of religion, but he could re- 
member nothing but these three sentences. Still he was so 
patient, so laborious, and so good, that the community decided 
to keep him. 

When he had finished his hard out-of-door work, instead of 
coming in to rest, he would go straight to the church, and there 
remain on his knees for hours. 'But what does he do.'' ex- 
claimed one of the novices; 'he does not know how to pray.' 
. . They therefore hid themselves in a side chapel, close to 
where he came in. Devoutly kneeling, with clasped hands, 
and his eyes fastened on the tabernacle, he did nothing buv 
repeat over and over again, ' I believe in God; I hope for God, 
I love God.' One day he was missing ; they went to his cell, 
and found him dead on the straw, with his hands joined, and 
an expression of the same ineffable peace and joy they had 
remarked on his face when in the church. They buried him in 
this quiet cemetery, and the abbot caused these words to be 
graven on the cross. Soon a lily (emblem of innocence) was 
seen flowering by the grave, whereon it had been sown: the 
grave was opened, and the root of the flower was found in the 
heart of the orphan boy." 



THIS flower is no less famed for the singularity of its 
associated legends than for the quaintness of its names. 
It is frequently called Honesty, which name is supposed to 
have been given it because of the transparency of the partition 
of the seed-vessel; it has been known as Silver-bloom and 
Satin-flower, probably on account of the glossy and silvery 
look of this seed-vessel. In France it is frequently called Herbe 
aux Lunettes, from the fancied resemblance of this portion of 
the plant to the oval glass of a pair of spectacles; and lastly, 
it was formerly termed in England, and still is in many parts 
of Europe, Lunaria, which is nothing more than a Latinized 
form of Moonwort, the appellation by which it is now recog- 
nized, and which, like all its many cognomens, is derived from 
a peculiarity of the seed-vessel, the form of which is considered 
to resemble that of the full moon. 

This little lilac flower has for many generations been deemed 
typical oi forgetfulness. Rene, Duke of Baraud-Lorraine, having 
been taken prisoner at the battle of Toulongeon, is said to have 
personally painted a sprig of moonwort, and to have had it con- 
veyed to his vassals, as a reproach to them for their dilatoriness 
in effecting his deliverance. 

Culpepper, in his ridiculous old " Herbal," says, " Moonwort 
is a herb which, they say, will open locks and unshoe such 
horses as tread upon it : this some laugh to scorn, and those 
no small fools neither; but country people that I know call it 
' unshoe the horse.' Besides," adds the old rascal, " I have heard 
commanders say, that on White Downs, in Devonshire, near 
Tiverton, there were found thirty horse-shoes, pulled off" from 
the Earl of Essex's horses, being there drawn up in a body, 


many of them being newly shod, and no reason known, which 
caused much admiration [doubtless] ; and the herb described 
usually grows upon heaths." 

After such testimony, it cannot excite surprise that magical 
properties were assigned to this plant ; thus Drayton says : 

" Enchanting lunarie here lies, 
In sorceries excelling." 

Chaucer also alludes to its use in incantations, whilst other 
ancient authors considered that amongst its virtues might be 
reckoned the power of curing insanity. 

The singular seed-vessels for which the plant is now chiefly 
noticed, are frequently dried and preserved for use with ama- 
ranths, xeranthemums, and other immortelles. 




The Crown Imperial. 


"This lily's height bespeaks command, 
A fair, imperial flower ; 
She seems designed for Flora's hand, 
The sceptre of her power." 


THIS stately scion of the lily family is significant oi power. 
The flowers are formed by ,a circle of tulip-shaped 
corollas turned downwards, which have the appearance of so 
many gay bells, the stigma answering for the clapper; the 
whole is crowned by a coma or tuft of green leaves, which 
gives to it a singular and agreeable effect. Each of the bells 
contains some drops of water, which adhere to the bottom of 
the corolla till it withers. 

The French, who seem to pay delicate compliments by 
instinct, have the following pretty little story appertaining to 
florigraphy, in which this superb blossom plays a prominent 
part : The Duke de Montausier was married to Mademoiselle 
de Rambouillet on New Year's Day, 1634, and on the morning 
of the bridal the duke placed upon the bride's dressing-table 
a magnificently-bound book, on the vellum leaves of which 
were painted from nature, by the most eminent native artists, 
a series of all the most beautiful Ei:ropean flowers. Appro- 
priate verses for each bloom were written by famous French 
poets, and elaborately emblazoned on their respective pages. 
The chief poem in the collection was contributed by Chapelain, 
who chose the Crown Imperial Lily for his theme, representing 
it as having sprung from the blood of Gustavus Adolphus when 
he fell mortally wounded on the field of Liitzen. This was 
intended more as a compliment to the bride than to the 
Swedish hero, of whose character the lady was an intense ad- 
mirer. This splendid wedding gift, which was named after its 
fair recipient, "Julia's Garland," is said to have been sold at 
the disposal of the Duke de la VaiUiere's effects in 1784, to 
an Englishman, for upwards of ;^6oo. 

A very rare member of this imperial family grows wild in 
Britain. It is sometimes called the Mourning Widow. 



THE Mignonette, the " little darling " of our French neigh- 
bours, has an extremely appropriate signification in 
floral caligraphy, viz., your qualities surpass your cfiarms ; but 
as it is very dubious as to how many of Eve's fair daughters 
would now-a-days care to have so double-faced a compliment 
paid them, it behoves all young would-be Benedicts to be wary 
how, and to whom, they present the flowerling. 

Said to have been introduced into England from Egypt little 
more than a century ago, it has fraternized so well with our 
climate that it may now be seen in every nook and corner of 
the land, and is discovered scattering fragrance and floral re- 
miniscences in the dirtiest of our alleys and the dingiest of our 
city courts. 

' ' Bland, fiagant flower ! from mom till eve " The artisan in attic pent. 

That scents the Stmimer day The weaver at his loom, 

To many a home, which but for thee The captive in his prison cell, 

No flower would e'er survey. Each hail and bless thy bloom." 

A celebrated gardener, speaking of this flower, and of the 
dcUghtful odour which it diffuses, states that " as it grows more 
readily in pots, its fragrance may be conveyed into the house. 
Its perfume — ^though not so refreshing, perhaps, as that of the 
sweetbriar — is not apt to offend the most delicate olfactories." 
Offend, indeed ! one would think not ! Why, the great Lin- 
nxus himself compared its fragrance to the scent of heavenly 
ambrosia ! As for growing it in pots, people are not contented 
with that, and it is more frequently seen cradled in the sun's 
golden light in boxes occupying the whole length of the 

window : • < The sashes fronted with a range 

Of the fragrant weed. 
The Frenchman's darling ; " 

or, as that gallant nation, more courteous than Cowper, the 
author of those words, frequently name it, the " love flower." 
Ah ! 't was not given to every poet " to win the secret of a 
weed's plain heart," as Lowell sweetly sings. 



" All know that in the woods the ash reigns queer., 
In graceful beauty soaring to the sky." 


OF all known trees, the Ash is most noted for its manifold 
mythological and classic associations in non-botanical 
works; and in its legendary connections, it is .so frequently 
confounded with the mountain-ash, or rowan-tree, that, de- 
spite their not being in any way related, their merits must be 
here taken in conjunction. 

In the Scandinavian " Edda " this tree fills a very important 
post : it is therein stated that the Court of the Gods is held 
under a mighty ash, the summit of which reaches the heavens, 
the branches overshadow the whole earth, and the roots pene- 
trate to the infernal regions. Upon the summit of this Norse 
" cloud-tree," perches an eagle, overlooking and observant of 
all creation ; to this exalted bird a squirrel is continually 
ascending in order to acquaint it with such things as may 
have escaped its notice. Round its mighty trunk are twined 
serpents ; and from its roots issue two fountains, in one of 
which is concealed wisdom, and in the other, a knowledge of 
futurity. Three attendant maidens are constantly sprinkling 
the leaves of this tree with water from the mystic fountains, 
and this water, falling to the earth in the shape of dew, pro- 
duces honey. 

This marvellous old allegory boasts of impenetrable an- 
tiquity, and writers trace its origin back into the misty times 
of the somewhat mythical Aryan race. 

According to the Norse tradition, it was out of the wood ot 
the ash that man was first formed ; and it is another curious 
proof in behalf of the common origin of all literatures, both 

Ash. 281 

sacred and secular, that we find similar fables existing amongst 
the Greeks. Hesiod deduces his brazen race of men from the 
ash, the tree generally deemed by his countrymen an image 
of the clouds and the mother of men. 

It is considered that the Christmas-tree of the Germans, 
recently imported into this country, originated in this myth- 
ical ash. 

The knowledge that the Druids evinced a great veneration 
for the mountain-ash is almost sufficient explanation of the 
many superstitious observances with which it is still connected 
in Great Britain, there being little doubt that the chief portion 
of such rustic ceremonies are only the remnants of Druidic 
customs. It has been observed that a stump of this tree is 
often discovered within or near the circle of a Druid temple, 
whose rites were formerly practised beneath its sacred shade. 

Lightfoot remarks that in these Druidic circles in North 
Britain, this tree is discovered more frequently than any other, 
and that, even now, pieces of it are carried about by supersti- 
tious people in the belief that it will preserve them from the 
powers of witchcraft. The same writer also remarks that in 
many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, when a child is born, 
the nurse inserts one end of a green stick of this tree into the 
fire, and while it is burning, gathers in a spoon the juice which 
oozes forth at the other end, and administers it to the new- 
born infant as its first spoonful of food. 

Ancient writers of many lands allude to the supposed respect 
or dread entertained by serpents for the ash. Pliny states that 
if a serpent be partially surrounded by a fire, and partly by 
ashen twigs, it will prefer to run through the fire to passing 
over the pieces of ash. Respecting this fallacy, Culpepper 
says that " the contrary to which is the truth, as both my eyes 
are witness." Evelyn also takes trouble to contradict the 
marvel, stating that it " is an old imposture of Pliny's, who 
either took it up upon trust, or we mistake the tree." Cowley, 
in his poem on " Plants," amongst other prodigies alludes to 

"■"'^ ■ " But that which gave more wonder than the rest. 

Within an ash, a serpent built her nest, 
And laid her eggs ; when once to come beneath 
The very shadow of an ash was death : 
Rather, if chance should force, she through the fire 
From its fallen leaves, so baneful, would retire ; " 

282 Ash. 

And, as his authority, the poet adds : 

"For truth hereof, take Pliny's word," 

— a thing, however, which few who know the extent of that 
gentleman's veracity would feel inclined to do. 

Sannazaro says, "Serpents always avoid the shade of the 
ash ; so that if a fire and a serpent be placed within a circle 
of ash-leaves, the serpent, to avoid the ash, will even run into 
the midst of the fire." 

In days of yore the wood of this tree was used for spears. 
The lance with which Achilles killed Hector was of ash, by 
which circumstance, Rapin and others considered that the tree 
became ennobled. 

" The ash for nothing ill," 

as Spenser says, also furnished Cupid with wood for his arrows, 
before he learnt to use the more fatal cypress. 

Many curious figures are said to have been discovered in 
the wood of the ash. A gentleman in Oxfordshire was said to 
possess a dining-table made of this wood, representing figures 
of men, beasts, and fish ; and in Holland, an ash being cleft, 
discovered the forms of a chalice, a priest's alb, his stole, and 
several other pontifical vestments. 

Evelyn mentions that in some parts of England the country 
people split young ashes, and pass children through the open- 
ing, in the belief that it will cure their disorder ; and the Rev. 
W. Bree, some few years ago related an instance, within his 
personal knowledge, of the strange superstition having been 
recently practised in Warwickshire. 

Miss Kent speaks of another extraordinary custom that 
rustics have : they bore a hole in an ash-tree, and imprison a 
shrew-mouse in it ; a few strokes given with a branch of that 
tree is then deemed a sovereign remedy for cramps and lame- 
ness in cattle, which the harmless little animal is ignorantly 
supposed to cause. 

Evelyn says the ash was reputed so sacred in Wales, that 
there was not a churchyard in his time that did not contain 
one, and that on a certain day in the year every person wore 
a cross made of the wood. " It is reputed," he says, " to be 
preservative against fascination and evil spirits, whence, per- 

As//. 283 

haps, we call it ' witchen ; ' the boughs being stuck about the 
door, or used for walking-staves." 

Dr. Hunter, in his notes upon Evelyn, says : " In former 
times this tree was supposed to be possessed of the property 
of driving away witches and evil spirits, and this property is 
recorded in one of the stanzas of a very ancient song, called 
the ' Laidley Worm of Spindlestone Heughs : ' 

" ' Their spells were vain ; the hags retum'd 
To the queen, in sorrowful mood. 
Crying that witches have no power 
\Vhere there is roan-tree wood.' " 



A COMMON garden blossom, that seldom receives all the 
attention it is worthy of, is the WalMower, symbolical 
oi fidelity in misfortune. It was a great favourite in the middle 
ages, when troubadours and minstrels wore it to emblemize 
the unchangeableness of their affection. Wallflowers belong 
to the Stock family ; and by far the finest is the common one, 
which Thomson, in his " Seasons," describes as 

" The yellow wallflower, strained with iron brown." 

Its colours are extremely rich, and its odour most delightful: 
it is a native of Switzerland, France, and Spain, as well as of our 
native land. " It is," says Mr. Martyn, " one of the few flowers 
which have been cultivated for their fragrancy time immemo- 
rial in our gardens." 

But few modern poets have proved their regard for this too- 
much neglected, sweet-smelling flower. Bernard Barton tells 

" An emblem true thou art, 

Of love's enduring lustre, given 
To cheer a lonely heart. " 

And elsewhere this poet sings of this flower: 

" To me it speaks of loveliness, " But, in adversity's dark hour, 

That passes not with youth, When glory is gone by. 

Of beauty which decay can bless, It then exerts its gentle power 

Of constancy and truth. The scene to beautify." 

Notably amid the poets who have delighted to do it honour 
stands Moir (" Delta "), some of his brightest verses being ad- 
dressed to 

' The wallflower, the wallflower ! It sheds a halo of repose 

How beautiful it blooms ! Around the wrecks of time ; 

It gleams above the ruined tower, To beauty give the flaunting rose — 
Like sunlight over tombs ; The wallflower is sublime. 



' Sweet wallflower, sweet wallflower ! 

Thou conjurest up to me 
Fifll many a soft and sunny hour 

Of boyhood's thoughtless glee ; 
When joy from out the daisies grew 

In woodland pastures green. 
And Sununer skies were far more blue 

Than since they e'er have been. 

" Now Autumn's pensive voice is heard 
Amid the yellow bowers ; 
The robin is the regal bird, 

And thou the queen of flowers ! 
He sings on the labumum-trees, 
Amid the twilight dim, 
And Araby ne'er gave the breeze 
Such scents as thou to hiiu. 

Rich is the pink, the lily gay. 
The rose is Summer's guest; 

Bland are thy charms when these decay. 
As flowers first, last, and best! 

There may be grander in the bower. 
And stateher on the tree. 

But wallflower, loved wallflower. 
Thou art the flower for mel" 

The Lily of the Valley. 


" Be thy advent the emblem of all I would crave." 

Bernard Barton. 

The Lily of tite Valley, sometimes called the May Lily, 
and in some country villages Ladder to Heaven, in the 
floral languages of Europe is emblematic of the return of 
happiness, doubtless in allusion to the season of the year when 
it puts forth its timid little blossoms. 

Although this flower is generally spoken of as white, there 
are several coloured varieties belonging to the species ; as, for 
instance, one with red blossoms, one with double red, and one, 
much larger than the common sort, beautifully variegated with 

Keats was very fond of this shy little floral fairy, and says: 

" No flower amid the garden fairer grows 
Than the sweet lily of the lowly vale. 
The queen of flowers." 

And further on he sings of 

" Valley-lilies, whiter still 
Than Leda's love." 

In that enchanted garden where the sensitive plant grew, 
Shelley lovingly placed 

" The naiad-like lily of the vale. 
Whom youth makes so fair, and passion so pale, 
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen 
Through their pavilions of tender green." 

Then, to descend to more earthly versification, we find 
Bishop Mant opening a long poem in praise of this poet's pet 
with the following lines : 

The Lily of the Valley. 287 

" Fair flower, that, lapt in lowly glade. 
Dost hide beneath the greenwood shade, 

Than whom the vernal gale 
None fairer wakes on branch or spray. 
Our England's Uly of the May, 

Our lily of the vale. 

• • * • • 

" \Vliat though nor care nor art be thine^ 
The loom to ply, the thread to twine. 

Yet bom to bloom and fade ; 
Thee, too, a lovelier robe arrays, 
Than, even in Israel's brightest days, 

Her wealthiest king arrayed." 

This writer versifies upon the probability of this flower 
being the "lily of the field" alluded to by Christ, but botanists 
assure us that it is the native of northern climes only, and 
would be unable to endure the warmth of Palestine. Alluding 
to the peculiar way in which the blossoms hang, and to their 
shape, Leigh Hunt prettily calls these flowerlings " little illu- 
mination lamps." In some parts of Europe the fragrance of 
this flower is most powerful 



THE Stock has been long established in English gardens, 
and, under the somewhat puzzling name of "gilly- 
flower," is frequently mentioned by our oldest writers. There 
has been a long-standing dispute amongst florigraphists as to 
what plant was really meant by the latter diffusedly-applied 
term, supposed to be a corruption of the French girqflier. 
Pinks and carnations were undoubtedly classed formerly with 
the stock as gillyflowers, but more recently, in order to dis- 
tinguish them, were called clove-gillyflowers and stock-gilly- 

The stock should, indeed, be a favourite flower with the 
softer sex, inasmuch as it is the chosen representative of what 
Madame Rachel so vehemently protests that she has disco- 
vered the secret elixir of, that is to say, lasting beauty. For 
several centuries, as might be supposed, it has been a great 
pet with the ladies, and carefully did the dames of yore culti- 
vate it within the circumscribed limits of their castle gardens. 
No flowering plant, it is said, has received more fostering care 
than the stock ; and so completely has it surrendered its being 
up to the florist, that what was formerly only a little sea-side 
flower now occasionally assumes the dimensions of a shrub, 
and puts forth blossoms almost equalling the rose in size, but 
— mark the but, fair reader — sometimes of so evanescent a 
nature and so variable a hue, that some flowers of this species 
have been termed mutabilis, or changeable. So, after all, 
ladies, you must seek another emblem, if you wish one, for 
enduring beauty, for the constant changes of this plant only 
render it a fit representative of earthly beauty's mutability. 

Stock. 2S9 

As an instance of what a capacity for growth stocks possess, 
may be mentioned one grown at Notting Hill in 1822, which, 
says Phillips, in his interesting "Flora Historica," "attained a 
circumference of nearly twelve feet." This same writer tells 
of an acquaintance of his, with whom he made a tour through 
Normandy. It was the first time this gentleman had ever 
left the sea-girt shores of his native land, and so thoroughly 
insular were his habits that everything he encountered dis- 
satisfied him. The food was unpalatable, the girls ugly, their 
clothing too scanty; and, finally, his grumblings made the 
whole company uncomfortable, until, adds the narrator, good 
fortune led us to a rustic inn where were growing several fine 
stocks, which, he affirmed, were the first good things he had 
seen since he left Sussex. On hearing the landlady acknow- 
ledge them to be girqflier de Brompton, he insisted upon the 
entire party halting there, entertained them to a capital meal 
at his own expense, and left the village with a sprig of the 
Brompton stock decorating his button-hole ; his good humour 
restored, and the remainder of his journey rendered pleasant, 
all through, as he frequently exclaimed, the Brompton stock. 


Sweet William. 


THE Sweet William, a member of the Pink family, from 
the charming manner in which it arranges its variegated 
blossoms into bouquet-shaped clusters, is well worthy of its 
florigraphical name oi finesse. 

The Bearded Pink, as it is sometimes designated, is known 
to our French neighbours as the " poet's eye," because of the 
manner in which its petals are marked. 

Gerarde, the old Elizabethan gardener, mentions this flower 
as being highly esteemed in his days " to deck up gardens, the 
bosoms of the beautiful, garlands, and crowns for pleasure." 
The narrow-leaved kinds are called " sweet Johns," the broad- 
leaved unspotted ones are sometimes named " London tufts," 
and the small speckled species, "London pride." In fact, 
there are too many varieties for specification here. 

It has already been observed that the classic name for the 
floral family to which this flower belongs signifies "Jove's 
flower," but in England that is generally confined to the pink, 
commonly so called ; and this distinction has afforded Cow- 
ley an opportunity of making these facetious remarks : 

" Sweet William small, has form and aspect bright, 
Like that sweet flower that yields great Jove delight ; 
Had he majestic bulk he 'd now be styled 
Jove's flower ; and, if my skill is not beguiled, 
He was Jove's flower when Jove was but a child. 
Take him with many flowers in one conferred, 
He 's worthy Jove, e'en now he has a beard. " 

Allusion has been made to the strange horror manifested by 
some people on smeUing'the periume of, or seeing, certain 
flowers : Voltaire gives the history of a young officer who was 
thrown into convulsions and lost his senses through having 
pinks in his room. Shakspeare, never willing to let anything 
pass unnoted by, causes Shylock to speak of such strange 
antipathies of human nature, to account for which, as he says, 
" there ii no firm reason to be rendered." 



THE Dahlia is a native of Mexico, where Baron Humboldt 
found it growing in sandy meadows several hundred 
feet above the level of the sea. It was brought to England 
in 1789, but was neglected and ^^ genus lost. It ornamented 
the royal gardens of the Escurial, at Madrid, for several years 
before Spanish jealousy would permit it to be introduced into 
the other countries of Europe. But it is said that it neither 
improved or exhibited any change under their management. 
Count Lelieur having b/ some means obtained a root from 
the Dons, introduced it into France, where it soon attracted 
attention. From that time it engaged the notice of conti- 
nental floriculturists, who propagated the plant so copiously, 
that at the general peace in 18 14, English travellers were as 
much astonished by its profusion as they were delighted with 
its richness and brilliancy. 

It derives its name from a countryman of the celebrated 
Linnzeus, Professor Andrew Dahl, a Swedish botanist : he pre- 
sented it in 1804 to Lady Holland, who was its first successful 
English cultivator. 

Its coarse foliage, gaudy flowers, and want of perfume seem 
to have prevented its becoming a favourite with our poets. 
Mrs. Sigourney just alludes to it as a florist's flower, in her 
" Farewell : " 

" 1 have no stately dahlias, nor greenhouse flowers to weep. 
But I passed the rich man's garden, and the mourning there was deep, 
For the crownless queens all drooping hung amid the wasted sod. 
Like Boadicea, bent with shame beneath the Roman rod." 

White Poplar. 

" The poplar that with silver lines his leaf." 


THE White Poplar in classic story was consecrated to 
Hercules, the mythological representative of courage. 
The hero first became associated with the tree when he de- 
stroyed Cacus, in a cavern of Mount Aventine, which was co- 
vered with poplars : he bound a branch of one round his brow 
as a token of his victory. When the demigod returned from 
his journey into the infernal regions, he came crowned with a 
wreath of his favourite tree, torn from the banks of the river 

Acheron. „ ^^^ poplar, to Alcides consecrate," 

adds the fable, on this occasion first had its leaves changed to 
their present hue ; for it was the perspiration from the hero's 
brow — so runs the story — that made the inside portion of the 
leaf white, whilst the smoke of the lower regions turned the 
upper surface of the leaf almost black. When any ceremonies 
or sacrifices were made to Hercules, his worshippers wreathed 
their heads with poplar-leaves, and all who had triumphed in 
battle wore garlands of it in commemoration of their great 
predecessor's victory. 

Dryden, translating Virgil, says : 

" The Salii sing, and cense his altars round 
With Sabine smoke, their heads with poplar bound." 

The ancients also dedicated this tree to Time, because its 
leaves appear constantly in motion ; and being of a dead 
blackish green above, and white below, they deemed that they 
indicated the alternation of night and day. 

The straight trunk of this elegant tree often rises to a great 
height, and it is decked with a pale smooth bark that frequently 
offers a marked contrast to its dark, rough neighbours : 

White Poplar. 293 

" Gracing each other like the trees in Spring, 
The tufted by the taU." 

The light, graceful appearance of these trees rustling their 
plumed heads hither and thither in the wind has been a fruitful 
source of simile to the poets, who likewise have not failed to 
notice the fine effect produced by the alternate play of light 
and shade of the leaves, as now the inside, and now the out, is 
exposed to view. 

In the "Odyssey "these movements are compared to women's 
fingers when spinning : 

" Full fifty handmaids from the household train. 
Some turn the mill, or sift the golden grain ; 
Some ply the loom ; their busy fingers move 
Like poplar-leaves when Zephyr fans the grove.'' 

Garcilasso, the Spanish poet, has a prettier conceit : 

"Each -vrmA that breathes, gallantly here and there 
Waves the fine gold of her disordered hair, 
As a green poplar-leaf, in wanton play, 
Dances for joy at rosy break of day." 

What Martyn said in prose, Leigh Hunt says thus inverse: 

" The poplar's shoot. 
That like a feather waves from head to foot." 

With Barry Cornwall the more ouiri class of comparison is 
dropped, and he sings sweetly : 

" The greenwoods moved, and the light poplar shook 
Its silver pyramid of leaves. " 


B LACK Poplar 

" The poplar, never dry." 


THE Black Poplar is no less celebrated in heathen fable 
than its fair sister ; the poets telling us that the Heliades, 
daughters of Apollo, gave way to such excessive grief at the 
loss of their brother, the ambitious young Phston, that in com- 
passion, the gods transformed them into poplars, and their tears 
— which continued to ooze through the bark — into amber. 

Unfortunately, some little discrepancies appear to exist in 
this pathetic story, some of its narrators assigning the honour 
of the metamorphosis to the poplar, and some to the alder. 
Ovid, a great authority, who gives the legend with much cir- 
cumstantial evidence, merely says the sisters, wandering on 
the banks of the Po, into which river their unhappy brother 
had been hurled, were changed into trees : 

" When now the eldest, Phsethusa, strove 
To rest her weary limbs, but could not move, 
Lampetia would have help'd her, but she found 
Herself withheld, and rooted to the ground : 
The third in wild affliction as she grieves. 
Would rend her hair, but fills her hands with leaves. 

« « * * « * • 

" The new-made trees in tears of amber run, 
Which, hardened into value by the sun, 
Distil for ever on the stream below. " 

It is undoubtedly true that the black poplar flourishes on 
the banks of the Po ; and likewise, that it, as many other 
aquatic trees, becomes so surcharged with moisture as to have 
it exude through the pores of the leaves, which may thus 
literally be said to weep. 

It does not conduce to the clearness of this antique allegory 

Black Poplar. 295 

to find Virgil, a very ancient authority, in one place calling 
these noted trees poplars, and in another alders ! 
Rapin adheres to the popular theory, and says : 

" Nor must the Heliads' fate in silence pass, 
Whose sorrow first produced the poplar race ; 
Their tears, wliile at a brother's grave they mourn. 
To golden drops of fragrant amber turn." 

Cowley fights for the minority thus : 

" The Phaetonian alder next took place, 
Still sensible of the burnt youth's disgrace ; 
She loves the purling streams, and often laves 
Beneath the floods, and wantons with the waves." 

Whilst Spenser is as discreet as Ovid, and omits the tree's 
name : 

" And eke those trees in whose transformed hue 
The sun's sad daughters wailed the rash decay 
Of Phseton, whose limbs, with lightning rent. 
They gathering up, with sweet tears did lament." 

Miss Kent — no mean authority — after well weighing the 
evidence, thus gives judgment : " It is pretty generally under- 
stood, however, to be the poplar-tree that is so nearly related 
to the sun, and the black poplar ; and it is certain that there 
is no tree upon which the sun shines more brightly." 

In moist situations this tree will grow to a great height : it 
has a long branchless trunk, adorned with a handsome sym- 
metrical head ; the bark is ashen-hued, the foliage of a glitter- 
ing brightness; and it must be confessed that a somewhat 
brilliant symbol for affliction is 

"The poplar trembling o'er the silver flood." 



THIS emblem of concealed love does not bloom until the 
second year, but, like the pure passion which it typifies, 
only blossoms once. In the ordinary kinds of Motherwort the 
flowers are pale red, but in the curled they are of a white as 
pure as the love they emblemize. 

In China and Japan the motherwort is held in great esti- 
mation, and in Shoberl's translation from the French of Tit- 
singh's " Illustrations of Japan," the following reasons for their 
admiration are given. Formerly there was a village situated 
in the province of Nanyo-no-rekken, in Japan, noted for its pro- 
fusion of motherwort flowers. The neighbourhood also boasted 
of a stream of particularly pure water, which constituted the 
ordinary beverage of the villagers, a hardy race, who lived 
generally to upwards of a hundred years of age. The prolonged 
existence of these villagers in course of time was ascribed to 
the adjacent flowers, and eventually the motherwort acquired 
so great a reputation for lengthening one's life, that not only 
was a medicinal drink, called zakki, prepared from its blossoms, 
but the ninth month of the year, when the flower attained its 
perfection, was named after it, and on the ninth day of that 
month a grand festival is held annually in its honour. The 
aforementioned zakki is a common beverage in Japan, but 
there is a superior kind of it made, which is much drunk in 
the Court of the Dairi, as the ecclesiastical ruler of that em- 
pire is sometimes called. The presentation of a cup of this 
liquid, accompanied by a bunch of moonwort, is stated to im- 
ply that you are wished a long life. Several Chinese authors, 
it is said, relate that once upon a time an emperor ascended 
the throne of the Celestials when only seven years of age. 

Motherwort Z97 

This precocious monarch was much troubled in his mind by a 
prediction that he would die before he attained his fifteenth 
year. A certain philosopher, named Lido, however, brought 
him from Nanyo-no-rekken a sovereign specific for procuring 
a long hfe, in the shape of some of the motherwort's beautiful 
yellow flowers. The emperor caused zakki to be made from 
them, and drinking of that beverage every day, lived upwards 
of seventy years. The opportune introducer of these flowers, 
having given offence to his illustrious patient, was banished 
from Court, whence he once more betook himself to the won- 
derful village, and there, drinking nothing but water impreg- 
nated with motherwort, he lived to the ultra-patriarchal age of 
three hundred; wherefore he was known to subsecuent ages 
by the cognomen of " Sien-nin-foso." 



" Now, gentle flower, I pray thee tell 
If my lover loves me, and loves me well. " 


THE classic cognomen of the bright blue Cornflower is 
Cyanus, and it was so named after a fair young devotee 
of Flora, who made garlands for public festivities out of various 
sorts of wild flowers, and who lingered lovingly from morn till 
eve amid the corn, weaving into flowery coronals the blossoms 
that she had collected, accompanying her pleasant labour by 
singing the songs of her beloved fatherland. 

This flower, although now so common in our corn-fields, is 
thought not to be indigenous, but to have been brought from 
the East amongst some imported grain. 

Its deep blue hue is so deep that it almost approaches a 
purple, and as such the poet addresses it : 

" There is a flower, a purple flower, 

Sown by the wind, nursed by the shower, 

O'er which Love breathed a powerful spell, 

The truth of whispering hope to tell. 

Now, gentle flower, I pr.T.y thee tell. 

If my lover loves me, and loves me well ; 

So may the fall of the morning dew 

Keep the sun from fading thy tender blue." 

Elizabeth Rowe is stated not only to have been extremely 
fond of the cyanus, as indeed every lover of the beautiful in 
nature must be, but to have obtained from this flower's ex- 
pressed juice a permanent transparent blue, little inferior to 
ultramarine, wherewith to paint some of her choicest blossoms. 
The following pretty description of the habits of this delicately 
beautiful flower appeared some years ago, in the pages ol a 
monthly publication: 

Cornflower 299 

" What an exquisite coronet of sky-blue florets is conspicuous 
in the cyanus ! every floret is a fairy vase, that holds forth a 
rich nectareous juice to thirsty insects. And when each vase, 
having fulfilled its appointed purpose, is laid aside, beautiful 
green cradles become developed, as if by enchantment, con- 
taining little winged children, which the zephyrs delight to 
rock ! These winged children are often peculiarly beautiful : 
their small pinions are elegantly variegated at the base, and 
adorned with the most delicate jet-black feathers, which, to 
the unassisted eye, appear only like minute hairs, and yet are 
perfect feathers of the most exquisite description. They pre- 
sently fly abroad, bearing with them seeds of equal rarity, with 
one minute groove fitted to another, and having a finished and 
elaborate mechanism whereby to facilitate the purpose for 
which they are designed." 

And this little flower is only one minute piece, scarcely per- 
ceptible amongst the many myriads of more or less complexity, 
of which this globe's marvellous mosaic is compounded 1 



" And full of emotion, its fault doth deplore, 
Sigb, shiver, and quiver, and droop evermore. " 

Eleanor Darby. 

THE Trembling Poplar is now generally known as the 
Aspen. It is chiefly remarkable for the ceaseless tremu- 
lous motion of its leaves — a natural phenomenon, to account 
for which many very diverse explanations have been proffered. 
.One authority attributes it to the plane of the long leaf-stalk 
being at right angles with that of the leaf, thus allowing a freer 
motion than they could have had if the planes had been 
parallel ; another learned gentleman ascribes the trembling to 
the length dnd slenderness of the leaf-stalks ; but that this is 
not a sufficient reason is proved by the fact that the leaves of 
other poplars have the same properties without partaking of a 
similar restlessness. Some malicious wretches have affirmed 
that the leaves of the aspen were made of women's tongues, 
"which never cease wagging." The Highlanders, however, 
set the question at rest by saying that the cross upon which 
Christ suffered crucifixion was made from the wood of this 
tree, and that therefore the tree can never rest. A quibbling 
objection has been raised against this theory, that the leaves 
can scarcely be conscience-stricken, as the cross could not have 
been made of them ; nevertheless, the querist admits that they 
may be struggling to escape from the wicked wood on which 
they grow. Miss Darby, in her " Lays of Love and Heroism," 
has thus versified a German legend upon the subject : 

" The Lord of Life walk'd in the forest one morn, 
When the song-wearied nightingale slept on the thorn ; 
Not a breath the deep hush of the dawning hour broke, 
Yet every tree, e'en the firm knotted oak, 

Aspen. ^oi 

The tall warrior pine, and the cedar so regal. 

The home of the stork and the haunt of the eagle 

All the patriarchal kings of the forest adored 

And bowed their proud heads at the sight of the Lord ! 

" One tree, and one only, continued erect. 
Too vain to show even the Saviour respect ! 
The light giddy aspen its leafy front raised. 
And on the Redeemer unbendingly gazed. 
Then a cloud, more of sorrow than wrath, diram'd the brow 
Of Him to whom everything living should bow ; 
While to the offender, with shame now opprest, 
He breathed in these words the eternal behest : 

*• ' Alas for thy fate ! thou must suffer, poor tree, 
For standing when others were bending the knee. 
Thou 'rt doomed for thy fault an atonement to pay : 
Henceforth be a rush for the wild winds to sway. 
Sigh, sport of their fury, and slave of their will ! 
Bow, e en in a calm, when all others are still ! 
And shivering, quivering, droop evermore. 
Because thou wouldst not with thy brothers adore.' 

" The weak aspen trembled, turned pale with dismay, 
And is pallid with terror and grief to this day. 
Each tremulous leaf of the penitent tree 
Obeys to this moment the heav'nly decree. 
'T is the sport of the wild winds, the slave of their will. 
E'en without a breeze bends, when all others stand still ; 
And full of emotion, its fault doth deplore, 
Sigh, shiver, and quiver, and droop evermore." 

Moore, with his usual felicity of combining humanity and 
nature's peculiarities, prettily sings : 

" That the wind, fioll of wantonness, woos like a lover 
The young aspen-trees, till they tremble all over." 





THE Lemon, in every respect so appropriate an emblem of 
zest, is a variety of the citron, and is consequently a 
blood relation of the more admired orange. It was first known 
to Europeans as the Median Apple, having been brought origi- 
nally from Media. Virgil terms it "the happy apple," on 
account of its virtues ; and in his second " Georgic " thus sings 
its praises : 

" Nor be the citron, Media's boast, unsung, 
Though harsh the juice and lingering on the tongue ! 
When the drugg'd bowl, 'mid witching curses brew'd. 
Wastes the pale youth by step-dame Hate pursued. 
Its powerful aid unbinds the mutter'd spell. 
And frees the victim from the draught of hell. " 

Who is there that is not acquainted with Gothe's beautiful 
ballad, "Know'st thou the Land where the Citrons bloom.?" 
evidently referring to the lemon. Few poets have flung their 
wreaths upon this flower's fragrant shrine : they have been 
seduced away by the more voluptuous beauty of her darker- 
hued sister ; and yet in former days the fairer of the twain bore 
away the bell, if not for beauty, at least for virtue. Hearken, 
O gentle reader ! to a story which Athenseus relates in proof 
of the good qualities of the neglected lemon ; a story told him 
by a friend of his who was Governor of Egypt. This governor 
had condemned two malefactors to death by the bite of ser- 
pents. As they were led to execution, a person, taking com- 
passion on them, gave them a citron to eat. The consequence 
of this was, that though they were exposed to the bite of the 
most venomous serpents, they received no injury. The governor, 
being surprised at this extraordinary event, inquired of the 
soldiers who guarded them what they had eaten or drunk that 
day ; and being informed that they had only eaten a citron, he 

Lemon. 303 

ordered that the next day one of them should eat citron, and 
the other not He who had not tasted the citron died presently 
after he was bitten ; the other remained unhurt 

The blossoms of the lemon are deemed typical of love's 

In Tennyson's " Recollections of the Arabian Nights " is the 
following picture of an enchanted and enchanting lemon-grove: 

" Far off, and where the lemon-grove 
In closest coverture upsprung, 
The living airs of middle night 
Died round the bvdbul as he sung ; 
Not he, but something which possessed 
The darkness of the world, delight. 
Life, anguish, death, immortal love, 
Ceasing not, mingled, unrepress'd. 
Apart from place, withholding time, 
But flattering the golden prime 
Of good Haroun Alraschid." 

Passion Flower. 


MOST of the Passion Flowers are natives of South 
America ; and although some of them have been 
induced to open their starry-leaved blossoms to the less glow- 
ing sun of these colder climes, it is only in the land of their 
birth that they can be seen in all their unsurpassed loveliness. 
There they are larger, brighter-hued, and far more fragrant ; 
there they are to be seen in the dense forests twining their 
glorious coronals around the massive trunks of everlasting trees, 
or else in waves of radiant beauty flowing over the myriad 
splendours that 

" The floor of Nature's temple tesselate 

With numerous emblems of instructive duty." 

Yes, tho3e who would view this glorious symbol ol faithful- 
ness in its unshorn loveliness must seek it in the immense forests 
of Brazil, blossoming amid all that grandeur, " boundless as our 
wonder," of which Humboldt has so nobly told. There, in "that 
fane, most catholic and solemn," 

"The faint passion flower, the sad and holy. 
Tells of diviner hopes;" 

and there it was that the peculiarities of its delicately-shaped 
blossom first attracted the notice of the invading Spaniards, 
who were then desolating surrounding nature with fire and 
sword, under the vile pretence of spreading the religion of 
peace and goodwill towards all men. 

In the thread-Uke coloured stamens which surround the 
flower-like rays, and in the various curious portions that com- 
bine to form this " floral apostle," are discovered a representa- 
tion of the crown of thorns, the scourge, the cross, the sponge, 
the nails, and the five wounds of Christ ; indeed, all the terrible 
paraphernalia necessary to portray the Passion of Jesus. The 

Passion Flower. 305 

sight of this wondrous symbol in that distant land is said to 
have confirmed the invaders in the belief that their schemes 
of conquest were sanctioned by a divine power ; and so, inspired 
by this poor innocent floral emblem of faith, they pursued, un- 
relentingly, their course of rapine and murder ! 

In Catholic countries this day-star is regarded with con- 
siderable veneration, and is deemed a marvellous confirmation 
of the scriptural doctrine of the Atonement. 





SYRINGA is a Greek word, signifying "pipe," and its 
ancient English name was " pipe-tree." Its classical appel- 
lation is Philadelphus, so called after Ptolemy Philadelphus, 
King of Egypt, who acquired celebrity for the intense affection 
he manifested for his brother : for this reason Syringa was con- 
secrated to his memory, and has been adopted as the flori- 
graphical sign oi fraternal love. 

The Syringa is a most delicious shrub : the foliage is luxu- 
riant, the blossoms beautiful, abundant, and of a creamy white- 
ness, starred with a golden centre, and emitting a most fragrant 
perfume. Well might Cowper speak in praise of the " syringa, 
ivory pure," and well indeed could Pliny call such blossoms 
" the joy of plants." 

Mason, in his " English Garden," speaks of this most odori- 
ferous plant, but can scarcely be deemed to have awarded it 
it-s due meed of praise, inserting as he does that uncalled-for 
odious but: 

" The sweet syringa, yielding but in scent 
To the rich orange, or the woodbine wild. 
That loves to hang on barren boughs remote 
Her wreaths of flowery perfume." 

Certainly its exquisite loveliness, super-eminent fragrance, 
and profuseness of foliage and flower, deserved more attention 
from the neglectful poets than this sweet shrub has gained. 

Some botanists have named the lilac " syringa," but really 
there is no resemblance between the two. Syringa is a member 
of the beautiful and aromatic myrtle family, whilst the lilac 
belongs to the jasmines. Tasmania is rich in the possession of 
this attractive plant, and there is a species growing there called 
the " myrtle-leaved syringa," of which the fresh flowering shoots 
were used by Captain Cook's sailors to make a kind of tea 
from : they found the infusion sweetly aromatic at first, but in 
a short time it became very bitter. It was considered very 
serviceable, however, in attacks of sea-scurvy. 



THIS delicate shrub was called Andromeda by the celebra- 
ted Linnaeus, after the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiope, 
the story of whose exposure at the water-side, and rescue from 
the sea-monster by Perseus, forms one of the most poetical 
episodes in the fourth book of Ovid's " Metamorphoses." The 
illustrious Swede gives the following reason for applying the 
classic appellation to this pretty pink marsh-flower : " As I 
contemplated it, I could not help thinking of Andromeda, as 
described by the poets — a virgin of most exquisite beauty and 
unrivalled charms. The plant is always fixed in some turfy 
hillock in the midst of the swamps, as Andromeda herself was 
chained to a rock in the sea, which bathed her feet as the fresh 
water does the root of the plant. As the distressed virgin cast 
down her blushing face through excessive affliction, so does 
the rosy-coloured flower hang its head, growing paler and paler 
till it withers away. At length comes Perseus, in the shape of 
summer, dries up the surrounding waters, and destroys the 

Thus the author of a "Tour in Lapland " recounts the words 
of Linnaeus, and it is pleasant to see by their elucidation how 
the great botanist composed his language of flowers — a floral 
language that for many years held so pre-eminent a sway, and 
which, even now, is not quite superseded. 

To German florigraphists this flower typifies the question, 
For wliom do you wait? 

ao — a 

, P A 




ALTHOUGH modern florigraphists, swayed by the cir- 
cumstance of the ancients having frequently made sym- 
bolic use of this herb at their banquets, have adopted Parsley 
as the representative oi festivity, with the nations of antiquity 
it was deemed typical of the most melancholy feelings. In 
Potter's erudite " Antiquities of Greece," it is stated that of all 
the flowers and herbs used by the Greeks to decorate graves, 
none was in greater request than parsley; and this custom, 
observes our learned authority, gave birth to that despairing 
proverb, when speaking of one dangerously ill, " that he has 
need of nothing but parsley;" which is in effect to say that he 
is a dying man, and nearly ready for the grave. Dead bodies 
were also strewed with sprigs of this herb : 

" Garlands that o'er thy doors I hung, 

Hang withered now and crumble fast ; 
Whilst parsley on thy fair form flung, 
Now tells my heart that all is past," 

cries the forlorn youth over the lifeless form of his betrothed. 

Plutarch relates that when Timoleon was marching his troops 
lip some ascending ground, whence he expected to obtain a 
view of the forces and strength of the Carthaginians, he was 
met by a number of mules laden with parsley ; which circum- 
stance, says the historian, was looked upon by his soldiers as 
an ill-omened and fatal occurrence, that being the very herb 
wherewith the sepulchres of the dead were adorned. 

These funeral associations notwithstanding, parsley was also 
held in high repute by the Greeks for festive and other pleasant 
events, as far back as the times of Homer. That poet, in the 
fifth book of the " Odyssey," uses it, in conjunction with the 
song-honoured violet, to adorn the precincts of Calypso's arbour : 

" In verdant meads, and thriving all around, 
Sweet violets and parsley deck the ground." 

Parsley. 309 

Its elegantly indented leaves caused it to be adopted, to- 
gether with the acanthus, in the adornment of the Corinthian 
capital. It is recorded that the Carthaginians, having found 
this herb in the delightful vales of Sardinia, carried it with 
them to the Phocean gardens of the Marseillais; and ancient 
coins have been found representing Sardinia under the figure 
of a female, standing beside a vase containing a bunch of 

On festive occasions it was customary for the Greeks to 
wear a wreath formed of sprigs of this plant, and a crown 
of fresh parsley was the prize awarded to the winner of the 
Nemaean sports ; at the Elean games, at one time, a chaplet 
of withered parsley was the winner's guerdon. The victors in 
the Isthmian games at Rome were crowned with leaves of this 
herb; and on many other like memorable occasions was it 

"If," it is stated in "Time's Telescope," for 1825, "after 
having bruised some sprigs of parsley in your hands, you 
attempt to rinse your glasses, they will generally snap and 
suddenly break." 

An eminent writer on the symbolism of flowers, after justly 
remarking what an elegant decoration for the board the beau- 
tiful green of this plant affords, pathetically laments that " a 
branch of laurel and a parsley crown are the attributes which 
would now-a-days suit the god of banquets. These plants 
have been employed for nobler purposes ; but, in the age of 
gastronomy, it will not do to insist too strongly on what was 
done in the heroic ages." 



" The sacred bush." Tennysom. 

THE Mistletoe is too well known co need any description 
of its botanical properties, whilst the important part 
which it plays in Christmas festivities scarcely requires more 
than a passing allusion : every one is acquainted with that 
remarkable custom which permits any lad to exact from any 
lass the toll of one kiss, when they accidentally meet where 

" Sacred ceilings, dark and grey, 
Bear the mistletoe. " 

The singular practice associated with "the sacred bush" is 
evidently a relic of some very ancient custom ; indeed, from the 
earliest ages, wonderful properties have been ascribed to this 
parasitical plant, but it was from Druidic uses that it acquired 
its principal sanctity. By the ancient inhabitants of this island 
the mistletoe was held in great veneration, particularly when 
it grew upon the oak, that — in the eyes of the Druids — most 
sacred of all trees. As this parasite, however, is not often 
found upon the oak, it is presumed that our ancient priests 
were accustomed to plant it there by inserting the seed. At 
the beginning of their year the Druids went in solemn pro- 
cession into the woods in order to seek for mistletoe, and 
whenever they discovered any, announced the fact by joyous 
shouts. A grass altar was then erected beneath the tree, and 
inscribed with such divine titles as they deemed most powerful. 
On the sixth day of the moon, the head Druid, clad in a white 
garment, ascended the tree, and, in the sight of the multitude, 
by means of a consecrated golden sickle, cut off the mistletoe 
and dropped it into a pure white cloth which the assistant 
priests held beneath. Two white bulls, or, upon the most 
important occasions, human beings, were sacrificed, and the 
Deity invoked to bless the plant, which was finally dipped 
in water, blessed by the principal priest, and distributed 
amongst the populace, as a preservative against witchcraft 
and diseases. If any portion of the plant came in contact with 



the earth, it was considered as ominous of some dreadful mis- 
fortune threatening the nation. The practice of decorating 
dwelhngs and places of worship with holly and mistletoe is 
undoubtedly of Druidic origin. Dr. Chandler states that in 
the times of the Druids the houses were decked with boughs, 
in order that the sylvan spirits might repair thither, and remain 
unnipped by frost and cold winds, until a milder season had 
renewed the foliage of their darling abodes. 

Amongst the various valuable qualities which the Druids 
ascribed to " all-heal," as they termed the mistletoe, was that 
of being an infallible antidote to all poisons and a cure for 
all diseases. Its magical properties are alluded to by Virgil, 
Ovid, and other writers of antiquity ; and even in the present 
day, in some secluded places, it is regarded with superstitious 
reverence. In Holstein the country people call the mistletoe 
"the spectre's wand," from the supposition that holding a 
branch of it will not only enable a man to see ghosts, but force 
them to speak to him. 

In Scandinavian mythology this bush plays a far from 
unimportant part. In the " Edda" it is recorded that Balder, 
the Scandinavian counterpart of Apollo, was charmed by his 
mother Friga against all injury from everything which sprang 
from the so-called four elements, fire, air, earth, and water; but 
Loke, the evil spirit, having an enmity against him, formed an 
arrow out of mistletoe, which grew from none of these things, 
and placed it in the hand of the blind Helder. The sightless 
deity launched the fatal dart at the seeming invulnerable Balder, 
and struck him to the ground. By a combined effort of the 
gods. Balder was afterwards restored to life ; and, as a repara- 
tion for his injury, the mistletoe was dedicated to his mother 
Friga, the Scandinavian equivalent for Venus. The plant was 
placed entirely under her control, so as to prevent its being again 
used against her as an instrument of mischief From the fact 
of its having been under the protection of this deity, arose, it 
is presumed, the custom of kissing under it at Christmas. In 
the days of chivalry it still continued to receive many honours : 
it was gathered with great solemnity on Christmas-eve, and 
suspended from the ceiling of the great hall, where, with much 
noisy rejoicing, were " the girls all kiss'd beneath the sacred 
bush." In those jolly times 

312 Mistletoe. 

" On Christmas-eve the bells were rung, 
On Christmas-eve the mass was sung ; 
That only night in all the year 
Saw the stoled priest the chalice near. 
The damsel donned her kirtle sheen ; 
The hall was dressed with holly green : 
Forth to the woods did merry men go. 
To gather in the mistletoe. 
Then opened wide the baron's hall 
To vassal, tenant, serf, and all. " 

In these less demonstrative days we are apt to forget many 
of the good old customs of our forefathers' times ; many of 
them are only to be met with in tales of eld, or flitting through 
poets' rhymes. Of all seasons, Christmas is the one now kept 
up gleefully in the happy homes of Old England ; and of all 
her ancient customs, the one that appears least likely to be 
forgotten is that very pleasant one of kissing under the 
mistletoe-bough. Long may it last in all its jollity ! 

Of all our living poets none has shown more pleasure in 
depicting Christmas life in Britain than Eliza Cook, and in 
the following song she tells far better in poetry than can be 
told in prose what should take place "Under the Mistletoe:" 

" Under the mistletoe, pearly and green, 

Meet the kind lips of the young and the old ; 
Under the mistletoe hearts may be seen 

Glowing as though they had never been cold. 
Under the mistletoe, peace and goodwill 

Mingle the spirits that long have been twain ; 
Leaves of the olive-branch twine with it still. 

While breathings of hope fill the loud carol strain. 
Yet why should this holy and festival mirth 

In the reign of old Christmas-tide only be found ? 
Hang up love's mistletoe over the earth, 

And let us kiss under it aU the year round ! 

" Hang up the mistletoe over the land 

Where the poor dark man is spurn'd by the white ; 
Hang it wherever Oppression's strong hand 

Wrings from the helpless humanity's right ; 
Hang it on high where the starving lip sobs, 

And the patrician one tumeth in scorn ; 
Let it be met where the purple steel robs 

Child of its father, and field of its com. 
Hail it with joy in our yule-lighted mirth. 

But let it not fade with the festival sound ; 
Hang up love's mistletoe over the earth. 

And let ns kiss under it all the year round 1 ** 



"And the oak, king of Britannia's woods. 
And guardian of her isle." DODSLEY. 

**' I ^HE Oak, the king of forests all," was considered the 
JL most sacred of all trees by the chief nations of an- 
tiquity, and its existence deemed coeval with the earth's. No 
faith but appears to have associated its rites with this symbol 
of majesty and strength. Biblical lore abounds with allusions 
to this " tower of strength." It was " under the oak which 
was by Shechem," that Jacob buried the strange gods and 
ornaments of his household. Under the " oak of weeping " 
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was interred. The Lord's mes- 
senger that appeared to Gideon "sat under an oak ;" and it was 
by the branches of one of these trees that Absalom, David's 
beloved but rebellious son, was caught, and met with death. 
" The oaks of Bashan," that mystic land where dwelt the 
mighty King Og and his gigantic followers, are called to 
mind, together with numerous other allusions to the hospitable 
tree — to that tree which many ancient races believed to have 
afforded shelter to the first human beings. 

The oak held a very prominent place in the religious and 
other ceremonies of the Greeks. The Dodoneari groves in 
Epirus, so celebrated for their oracles, which were supposed 
to proceed from the interior of the trees themselves, were of 
oak ; and Argo, the ship of the Argonauts, being constructed 
with the wood of this tree, was endowed with the same power 
of speech, and counselled the voyagers by oracular directions. 
The Dodonean Jupiter, the Fates, and Hecate, were crowned 
with oak-leaves. Acorns were the first food of man, and the 
Greeks had an old proverb, in which they expressed an idea 
of a man's age and experience by saying that he had " eaten 
of Jove's acorns." 

This monarch of the woods was held in still greater esteem 
by the Latin race, and their principal poets never omitted au 

314 Oak. 

opportunity of doing it honour; indeed, they are the only 
nation that can in any way compare with the English in the 
high value which they set upon the oak. In their emblematic 
ceremonies it filled a most important post : they considered it 
symbolic of majesty and power, and consecrated it to Jupiter, 
who, say the fabulists, was sheltered by it at his birth. " It is," 
says Virgil, ..j,,^^,, <,^ t,^^^ 

That holds the woods in awful sovereignty. 

Stretching his brawny arms and leafy hands. 

His shade protects the plains, his head the hills commands." 

In this same poem, the second "Georgic," the great Latin 
has, as Mr. Gilpin truly observes, in a few words brought to- 
gether the most obvious characteristics of this noble tree, — 
its firmness, its stoutness of limb, the sinuousity of its wide- 
spreading branches, and its remarkable longevity. 

Virgil was not alone in his admiration for the kingly oak, as 
the Roman poets, especially Ovid and Lucan, are frequently 
found paying the passing tribute of their deathless verse to 
" the tree of Jove," as they love to terra it. In the earlier ages 
acorns appear to have been a very important article of food, 
and in ancient Rome it was feigned that Ceres was the first 
who superseded their use by instructing Triptolemus to teach 
the peasantry how to cultivate and use corn : 

" The oak, whose acorns were our food before 
That Ceres' seed of mortal man was known, 
Which first Triptoleme taught how to be sown.'' 

In commemoration of this valuable gift, oak-leaves were 
worn at the festivals held in honour of Ceres, as also by hus- 
bandmen in general at the beginning of the harvest. 

To the Roman soldier who saved the life of another in 

battle a chaplet of oak-leaves was awarded. Shakspeare makes 

Cominius say of Coriolanus : 

" At sixteen years, 
When Tarquin made a head from Rome, he fought 

Beyond the mark of others 

He proved best man i' the field, and for his meed 
Was brow-bound with the oak. " 

Lucan refers still more distinctly to the custom: 

" Lelius from amidst the rest stood forth, 
An old centurion of distinguished worth ; 

Oar. 313 

The oaken wreath his hardy temples wore, 
Mark of a citizen preserved he bore." 

This crown — considered the most honourable of all those 
with which the Romans rewarded famous military deeds — was 
awarded to Cicero for his detection of Catiline's conspiracy. 
When a similar chaplet was decreed to Scipio Africanus for 
having preserved his father's life in the battle of Trebia, he 
declined the honour, deeming the act carried with it its own 
reward. Oh, what men those noble Romans were ! 

The civic crown, as this oaken wreath was called, conferred 
many honours upon its possessor: when he entered an assembly, 
every one present, not even excepting the senators themselves, 
were bound to rise ; he was exempt from all kinds of civil 
burdens, and enjoyed many other desirable rights. 

In marriage ceremonies, also, the oak performed its part : 

" With boughs of oak was graced the nuptial train." 

Much as the Hellenic and Latin races used and admired 
this sturdy tree, however, it is the records of the Teutonic and 
Celtic nations that must be investigated in order to find how 
sacred a character it anciently bore : it was under the semblance 
of the oak that those peoples adored their god Tuet, and the 
ancient Britons (a kindred folk) Tarnawa, their God of Thunder. 
It was likewise under the form of an oak that Baal, the Celtic 
God of Fire, was worshipped : the festival of this deity was 
kept at Yule, the present Christmas, and on the anniversary 
the Druids caused all the fires belonging to the people to be 
extinguished, and then re-lighted them from their own sacred 
fire, which they professed to keep perpetually burning. This 
rite is supposed to have been the origin of the Yule-log, the 
kindUng of which at Christmas is still kept up in many parts 
of the country. This log was invariably of oak ; and, as the 
ancient Britons believed that it was essential for their hearth- 
fires to be renewed annually from the Druids' sacred fire, so 
their descendants firmly believed that some misfortune would 
occur to them if they omitted their ancestors' custom of burn- 
ing the Christmas log. 

It was beneath the shadow of some mighty oak that the 
Druids were wont to perform their worship, and when they 
offered up human sacrifices, their victims were crowned with 

3i6 Oak. 

wreaths of oak-leaves : the curious-shaped baskets in which 
they were immolated, and which bore no little resemblance to 
those still worn by " Jack-in-the-green " upon May-day, were 
manufactured of oaken twigs quaintly interwoven, and even 
the very brands with which the sacrificial fires were kindled 
were required to be of oak. 

It was beneath the branches of this same renowned tree that 
their criminal trials were held, the judge and jury being seated 
under the sacred shade, and the culprit placed in a circle made 
by the chief Druid's wand. With the Saxons the oak retained 
its sacred character : beneath it they held their national meet- 
ings ; and it was below the oaks of Dartmoor that they had 
their famous conference with the Britons, whose country they 
were invading. 

Many of these magnificent sylvan princes have attained in 
England a fame truly national. Everybody knew of " Heme's 
moon-silvered oak," and no one could restrain a sigh of regret 
when it was announced that its time-honoured stem had 
succumbed to the onslaughts of Time. Three venerable oaks 
in Donnington Park, spoken of by Martyn, were believed to 
have been planted by Chaucer ; the famous oak at Morley, in 
Cheshire, supposed to have existed upwards of eight hundred 
years, tradition asserted once afforded shelter to Edward the 
Black Prince ; Evelyn tells of one of these denizens of our 
ancient woodlands, growing at Rycote, which was able to 
afford a cover to upwards of four thousand men. The circum- 
ference of the boughs of the celebrated Fairlop Fair Oak was 
three hundred feet, and that of its massive trunk thirty-six ; 
whilst the stem of Queen Elizabeth's Oak, in Suffolk, measured 
thirty-seven feet round : " Good Queen Bess," as some folks 
like to term her, is reported to have often taken her stand 
beneath its wide-spreading arms, in order to shoot at the deer 
as they fled timidly by. 

There is, or was some few years since, on the road to Tun- 
bridge, an enormous tree, known as Fisher's Oak, and within 
its hospitable trunk thirteen men on horseback are said to 
have found shelter: it is also recorded that when James I. 
was travelling along that road, a schoolmaster of the neigh- 
bourhood, and a great number of his pupils, decked with oaken 
garlands, came out of this tree, and greeted the King with an 
appropriate address. 

Gak. 317 

One of the most renowned and belauded trees ever known 
was the famous oak at Penshurst, planted at the birth of Sir 
Philip Sidney. Ben Jonson, Waller, and many other famous 
poets have sung its praises ; but, alas ! having been associated 
with bravery and beauty for upwards of two centuries, by a 
deed of stupid ignorance it was felled ! 

One of the largest known specimens of these grand repre- 
sentatives of hospitality was probably Damory's Oak in Dorset- 
shire, the trunk of which measured sixty-eight feet round, and 
was capable of sheltering twenty persons in its capacious 
interior. In Cromwell's time it was inhabited by an old man 
who sold ale to passers-by. In 1755, when it was only useful 
for firewood, its time-worn remains realized £14. It was 
doubtless such a grand old shelter as this that suggested 
these lines : 

" If keen blow the wind, and if fast the rain fall, 
The storm and the tempest we heed not at all ; 
Though fifty stout fellows, bold yeomen, are we, 
There is plenty of room in this hollow oak-tree." 

Another famous oak was that at Boscobel, which sheltered 
Prince, afterwards King, Charles, after his defeat at Worcester. 
The dissolute and ungrateful monarch is stated to have subse- 
quently visited his sylvan preserver, and to have taken off some 
of its acorns and planted them in St. James's Park. Some 
people, who do not object to anj^hing likely to conduce to 
holiday-making, are fond of wearing oak-apples in their hats 
on the 29th of May, the anniversary of the prince's escape. 

Associated with more venerable memories are the remains 
of Wallace's Oak, in Stirling. It is presumed to have been 
the largest tree ever known in Scotland : around it are signs 
of a Druidic circle, but its principal sanctity arises from the 
legend that under its once great shadow Sir William Wallace 
was accustomed to hold the head-quarters of his army. 

It is said that there is a tree in the New Forest, called the 
Cadenham Oak, which buds annually in the winter, and that 
the country-people assert of it, as they do of the Glastonbury 
thorn, that it buds only on Christmas-day — a truly appro- 
priate emblem of the hospitality, peace, and goodwill usually 
so widely spread and generally felt amongst all Christian men 
on that day of good tidings. 



" The night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies, " 

NEVER had a more beautiful emblem of its majestic love- 
liness assigned to it than when the florigraphists chose 
the Convolvulus for its representative in their science of sweet 

The Major Convolvulus, symbolic of extinguished hopes, is a 
native of America; and the Minor Convolvulus, ty^xiyva^repose, 
of Southern Europe : the flowers of this latter variety are some- 
times pure white, but more frequently are variegated with blue 
and yellow, or blue and white : one very beautiful kind is a 
bright blue, fading, by delicate gradations, to a pure white in 
the centre, and resembles that blue atmosphere, relieved by 
fleecy clouds, when, as Keats says, 

" On high, 
Through clouds of fleecy white laughs the cerulean sky." 

Nor is the form of this flower less lovely than its colour, either 
when spread out in full beauty to catch the kisses of its bosom 
lord, the sun, or when, at the stealthy approach of that star- 
covered dame of which it is the peerless symbol, it droops its 
graceful neck and shuts its bright blue eye. 

In the suburbs of the Eternal City — the seven-hilled Rome 
— different species of the convolvulus fling their many-hued 
wreaths round the hedges, in some parts decorating both 
sides of the road for several miles with a gallant array of 
bright leaves and brighter flowers, and the Italians, who pas- 
sionately love the beauteous plant, are fond of ornamenting 
their verandahs with its chnging wreaths. The Dwarf Con- 
volvulus, used to typify the axiom that love levels all, is also a 
native of the southern portions of Europe ; its fragile blossoms 
are of " rosy red. Love's proper hue." 

The English wild varieties of this most graceful of all plants 
are commonly called " bindweeds," and of these the Field Con- 
volvulus is the best known. Its sweet-scented blossoms, which 
emit an almond-scented odour, are mostly striped with white 
and rose-colour, but sometimes are of a yellow hue; its deli- 

Convolvulus. 319 

cate green leaves are very slight and fragile, giving the plant 
a general appearance of frailty. And this, added to the know- 
ledge that its flowers last only one day, render it a very ap- 
propriate emblem o{ fleeting joys. It is a great favourite with 
little country lasses, who love to twine a wreath of its delicate 
leaves and blossoms round their hats, or twist it about their 
flaxen tresses. 

The large white bindweed or bearbine is another lovely 
member of this beautiful family, and, like its relatives, pos- 
sesses the singular property of denoting the sun's course by 
twining in opposition to the path of day's luminarj', from right 
to left, and it is stated that, so tenacious is it of following its 
natural bias, that should it be diverted from it beyond possi- 
bility of resuming its way, it will perish. This flower loves to 
haunt humid spots, and may often be seen elegantly festoon- 
ing a row of drooping willows with its light fetters. Country 
people, too accustomed to the loveliness of its large white 
flowers to poetise over them, call them " old man's nightcap." 
St. Pierre, most delightful of botanists, had a great admiration 
for the bearbine ; and well might any lover of nature, for its 
blossoms are exceeded by none in purity of whiteness or beauty 
of outline, nor are its heart-shaped leaves outrivalled by any 
in handsomeness. Never did maiden select a lovelier coronal 
with which to wreathe her brow than this : 

" Thy brow we '11 twine In sunny showers 

With white bearbine, Its wand'ring flowers 

And 'mid thy glossy tresses Shall wind iheir wild caresses." 

We are too familiar with the loveliness of these wildings 
of nature to duly appreciate them ; they are " too much with 
'Js " to receive their due meed of praise : were they newly 
imported from some tropical clime, their novelty would startle 
us into enthusiasm, and their merits would be everywhere 
loudly proclaimed ; • and yet we ever find the poet — that voice 
of a people's soul — hymning the glories of his native wild 
flowers, to the almost total exclusion of their more polished 
sisterhood — the florists' flowers. "Lives there a man with 
soul so dead," who, in gazing upon the blooming fields and 
woodlands of his native land, does not feel that those blossoms 
before him are indeed 

" Bright missals from angelic throngs"? 



" A foolish mimic sun.'' 

Robert Browning. 

GERARDE, in his " Herbal," and other old writers termed 
this flower the "sun marygold;" they also indiscrimi- 
nately called marygolds " sunflowers," and vice versa. Some- 
times the Sunflower is styled turnsol, from the common belief 
that its blossoms always turn towards the sun ; and that they 
do not — despite its being termed "a vulgar error" — is not 
proven. Be this idea true or false, the poets, no mean autho- 
rities — have adopted the popular side, and thrown their valu- 
able testimony into the scale. Darwin, even better known as 
a botanist than a poet, says that the sunflower 

" Climbs the upland lavra, 
And bows in homage to the rising dawn. 
Imbibes with eagle eye the golden ray, 
And watches, as it moves, the orb of day." 

Thomson tells us that though as a rule the flowery race 
resign their new-flushed bloom before the passing beam, one, 

" The lofty follower of the sun. 

Sad when he sets, shuts up her yellow leaves, 
Drooping all night, and, when he warm returns, 
Points her enamour'd bosom to his ray." 

In his " Irish Melodies " Moore has the comparison — 

" As the sunflower turns to her god when he sets 
The same look which she tum'd when he rose." 

The Spaniards, who share "the vulgar error," in common 
with most of their continental neighbours, have, in their Lefi-. 
gua de Flares, adopted this flower as the emblem of faith, and 
one of their poets thus addresses it : 

SUNFL OWE a. 321 

" Real faith is like the sun's fair flower, 
Which 'midst the clouds that shroud it, and the winds 
That wave it to and fro, and all the change 
Of air, and earth, and sky, doth rear its head, 
And looketh up, still steadfast, to its God." 

The classic legend of Clytie has been attached to the sun- 
flower. That nymph had been beloved by the fickle Helios, 
but it was not long before he transferred his affections to 
Leucothoe, daughter of King Orchamus. When Clytie found 
herself unable to regain her lover, she informed the Persian 
monarch of his daughter's love affair, and he had the unfor- 
tunate girl entombed alive. Helios, enraged at the terrible 
tragedy, entirely forsook the nymph whose jealousy had caused 
it ; and she, overwhelmed with grief, lay prone upon the earth 
for nine days and nights without any sustenance, her eyes 
continually following the course of her adored sun through 
the heavens. At last the gods, less pitiless than her former 
admirer, transformed her into a sunflower, and, as Ovid says : 

" Still the loved object the fond leaves pursue, 
Still move their root, the moving sun to view." 

There is a smaller sunflower, the botanical name for which 
is Helenium, derived from Helen of Troy, from whose tears it 
was supposed to have sprung. Drummond, in his lines upon 
the death of Prince Henry, thus alludes to it : 

" And thou, O flower! of Helen's tears that's boni, 
Into those liquid pearls again now turn." 

A work on floral caligraphy says that this blossom has been 
made the symbol oi false riches, because gold, of which the 
Sunflower is so suggestive, cannot of itself, however abundant 
it may be, render a person truly rich ; and thereupon the writer 
recounts the story of Pythes. He was a Lydian, and being 
possessed of immense mineral wealth, neglected the cultivation 
of his lands. His wife, in order to prove to him the inutility 
of such riches as he prized, when he sat down to dine had all 
the dishes filled with golden imitations of the various eatables. 
When the covers were removed, this sensible woman said to 
the assembled guests, " I set before you such fare as we have, 
for we cannot reap what we do not sow." The lesson produced 
due impression upon Pythes, and, it is said, he did not fail to 
profit by it. 


322 Sunflower. 

The sunflower is said to have been much reverenced in its 
native country of Peru on account of the resemblance borne 
by its broad disc and surrounding rays to the sun, which lumi- 
nary was worshipped by the Peruvians. In their Temple of 
the Sun, the priestesses when officiating were crowned with 
sunflowers of pure gold ; they also wore them in their bosoms, 
and carried them in their hands. The Spanish invaders were 
astonished at the profuse, display of gold, and when they first 
beheld whole prairies of these flowers in blossom, fancied that 
they were composed of the same precious metal. 

St. Pierre says the turnsol turns continually towards the 
sun, and covers itself — like Peru, the country from which it 
comes — with dewy clouds, which cool and refresh its flowers 
during the most violent heat of the day. 

In Mexico and Peru the sunflower is said to attain a height 
of twenty feet and upwards, and to produce blossoms two feet 
in diameter. 

Old Gerarde states that in his garden at Holborn he pro- 
duced this plant, which he styles "the Flower of the Sunne, or 
the Marigolde of Peru ; " that it grew to the height of fourteen 
feet, and bore flowers sixteen inches across. 

The size and brilliance of these flowers have gained for them 
the epithet of " gaudy." Maturin, placing them amid a mob 
of blossoms, says : 

"The gaudy Orient sunflower from the crowd 
Uplifts its golden circle." 

The sunflower may be too showy for a bouquet, but for back- 
grounds it is a most effective ornament, and indeed, frequently 
forms the most attractive decoration of a rustic cottage or a 
garden wall. Says poor Clare : 

"And sunflowers planting for their gilded show, 
That scale the window's lattice ere they blow ; 
Then, sweet to habitants within the sheds. 
Peep through the diamond panes their golden heads." 

Robert Browning thus alludes to the story of Rudel, the 
ancient French poet, who adopted this splendid blossom as 
his emblem : 

" I know A mount, the gracious sun perceives 
First when he visits, last, too, when he leaves 



The world ; and, vainly favoured, it repays 

The day-long glory of his steadfast gaze 

By no change of its large, calm front of snow. 

And underneath the mount a flower I know. 

He cannot have perceived, that changes ever 

At his approach ; and, in the lost endeavour 

To live his life, has parted, one by one. 

With all a flower's true graces, for the grace 

Of being but a foolish mimic sun. 

With ray-like florets round a disc-like face. 

Men nobly call by many a name the mount. 

As over many a land of theirs its large 

Calm front of snow, like a triumphal targe. 

Is reared ; and still with old names fresh ones vie. 

Each to its proper praise and own account. 

Men call the flower tlie sunflower, sportively." 

Laurel. Bay. 


" We crown with the laurel wreath 
The hero-god, the soldier chief." 

Eliza Cook. 

" Sweet bay-tree, symbol of the song that dreaming poet sings." 


"The victor's garland, and the poet's crown." 

W. Browne. 

HOWEVER easy a task it may be for the botanist, to the 
florigraphist it is a work of almost insurmountable 
difficulty to distinguish the Laurel from the Bay, so inextri- 
cably are they combined. There appears to be little doubt 
that the tree really selected to typify glory is the Sweet Bay, 
or Daphne ; whilst the laurel, commonly so called, belongs to 
another genus, and is scientifically known as Prunus, a word 
presumedly of Asiatic origin. 

The sweet bay was deemed by both Greeks and Romans 
emblematic of victory and clemency. The glories of all grand 
deeds were signalized by means of laurel crowns ; its leaves 
were deemed very efficacious in the prevention of illness, and 
its shelter was believed to ward off lightning. 

The emblem oi fame well deserves its cognomen of " sweet," 
the exquisite fragrance exhaled by its leaves, especially when 
crushed, is well known. This odoriferous plant was worn by 
the Delphic priestesses when engaged in their sacrificial rites, 
during which time they were accustomed to chew some of the 
leaves and strew them on the sacred fire. The brows of war- 
riors and poets, orators and philosophers, sovereigns and priests, 
were all adorned with wreaths of these leaves. At the Pythian 
games — held in commemoration of Apollo's victory over the 
Python — a crown of laurel was the prize. The statue of .(Escu- 

Laurel. Bay. 325 

lapius, the son of Apollo, the God of Physic as well as of Music, 
was adorned with its leaves; a custom, doubtless, adopted to 
propitiate that deity, who, as Potter in his " Grecian Antiqui- 
ties " happily remarks, would assuredly guard from injury any 
place where he found the emblem of his beloved Daphne. 

Physicians held the bay in great esteem, and doubtless from 
its associations,,considered it a panacea. When any person was 
seized with a dangerous illness, it was customary with the Greeks 
to fix a branch of laurel over the dooi-way, in order to avert 
death and drive away evil spirits. It is supposed that from 
these practices arose the fashion of crowning young doctors of 
physic with laurel-berries (bacca lauri), whence is derived the 
terms of "bachelor" and "laureate." "Students," says Mr. 
Phillips, in his " Sylva Florifera," " who have taken their de- 
grees at the Universities, are called bachelors, from the French 
bachelier, which is derived from the Latin baccalaureMs, a laurel- 
berry. These students were not allowed to marry, lest their 
duties of husband and father should take them from their 
literary pursuits ; and in time all single men were called ba- 
chelors." In " Flora Domestica," Miss Kent very pointedly 
remarks that the term of "bachelors" has, with some pro- 
priety, " been extended to single men, as the male and female 
berries do not grow on the same plant ; and it seems we might, 
with equal correctness, bestow the name upon unmarried 

Theophrastus tells us that the superstitious man of his time 
was accustomed to keep a bay-leaf in his mouth all day, to 
preserve him from misfortunes ; whilst Theocritus says that it 
was usual with lovers to burn laurel as a means of exciting 
love in the bosoms of those on whom they had fixed their 

Hardy and flourishing as the bay-tree appears, when it 
withers, it withers very rapidly ; and this circumstance ren- 
ders it likely that the following allusion in the Thirty-seventh 
Psalm applies to this tree : " I have seen the wicked in great 
power, and spreading himself like a green bay-tree. Yet he 
passed away, and lo, he was not ; yea, I sought him, but he 
could not be found." 

Formerly this rapid decay of the bay-tree was considered an 
cmen of disaster ; and it is stated that, previous to the death 

325 Laurel. Bay. 

of Nero — an event, one would have thought, the opposite to 
©minous — though the winter was very mild, all these trees 
withered to the root, and that a great pestilence in Padua was 
preceded by the same phenomenon. The laurel had so great 
a reputation for clearing the air and averting contagious com- 
plaints, that during a raging plague, Claudius was advised by 
his physicians to remove his Court to Laurentium, so celebrated 
for its laurels. It had also the power ascribed to it of being a 
safeguard against lightning, of which Tiberius was very fear- 
ful ; and, in order to avoid which, it is said, would creep under 
his bed, and shade his head with laurel boughs. 

This superstitious idea survived to recent times. William 
Browne tells us that " bay.s, being the materials of poets' gar- 
lands, are supposed not subject to any hurt of Jupiter's thunder- 
bolts, as other trees are ; " and also sings : 

"Where bays still grow, by thunder not struck down. 
The victor's garland and the poet's crown." 

Of course, old Culpepper — who would have fully compre- 
hended the meaning of his significant name had he written in 
these days of all-powerful criticism — did not overlook this 
curious belief, and accordingly we find him expatiating in his 
usual quaint style upon this tree : " Resisting witchcraft very 
potently, as also all the evils old Saturn can do the body of 
man, and they are not a few ; for it is the speech of one — and 
I am mistaken if it were not Mizaldus — that neither witch nor 
devil, thunder nor lightning, will hurt a man where a bay-tree 
is. . . . The berries are very effectual against all poisons of 
venomous creatures, as also against the pestilence, and other 
infectious diseases." 

This presumed power of averting lightning is alluded to in 
the device of the Count de Dunois, which Madame de Genlis 
mentions as being a bay-tree, with the motto, " I defend the 
earth that bears me ; " and Leigh Hunt, in his " Descent of 
Liberty," thus adverts to the belief: 

' Long have you my laurels worn, Only would you keep it brightening 

And though some under-leaves be torn And its power to shake the light- 
Here and there, yet what remains ning 

Still its pointed green retains, Harmless down its glossy ears, 

And still an easy shade supplies Suffer not so many years 

To your calm-kept watchful eyes. To try what tliey can bend and spoil. 

Laurel. Bay. 327 

The laurel bears the classic appellation of Daphne, because 
of the ancient legend connecting it with the nymph of that 
name, who, according to Ovid, was daughter of the river-god 
Peneus. Apollo beheld her, and at once became enamoured of 
her beauty ; but the fair Daphne fled from his importunities, 
and, fearful of being caught, called to the gods for assistance : 
they answered her prayers by transforming her into the laurel. 
Apollo finding that he held nothing but a hard tree in his 
embrace, saluted its vivid green leaves with fond kisses, crowned 
his head with its leaves, and ordained that ever after that tree 
should be sacred to his godhead. Ovid thus recounts this fact : 

" I espouse thee for my tree : 
Be thou the prize of honour and renown ; 
The deathless poet and the poem crown. 
Thou shall the Roman festivals adorn. 
And, after poets, be by victors worn." 

By the Romans this tree was as much honoured as it was by 
their Hellenic predecessors. The palace gates of the Caesars 
and of the chief priests were adorned by it ; the emperors wore 
it, and their physicians recommended it ; the generals were 
crowned with it in their triumphal processions, at which times, 
indeed, so far was its symbolism carried, that all the flags and 
warlike instruments were dressed up with it, and even every 
private soldier carried a sprig of it in his hand ; also despatches 
announcing a victory were wrapped up in, and ornamented 
with, leaves of bay. 

Even in the middle ages these trees retained their popularit}-, 
and thus we read of famous poets having been publicly crowned 
with wreaths of laurel. We may, with the authoress of " Flora 
Domestica," exclaim, " How many grand and delightful images 
does the very name of this tree awaken in our minds ! The 
warrior thinks of the victorious general returning in triumph 
to his country, amidst the shouts of an assembled populace ; 
the prince of imperial Caesar, the poet, and the man of taste 
see Petrarch crowned in the Capitol. Women, who are enthu- 
siastic admirers of genius in any shape, think of all these by 
turns, and almost wonder how Daphne could have had the 
heart to run so fast from that most godlike of all heathen 
gods, Apollo." 

Spenser seems to have felt with the weaker sex the slight 

328 Laurel. Bay. 

shown to his poetic chief, for he thus vindictively speaks of the 
cold nymph : 

" Proud Daphne, scorning Phoebus' lovely fire, 
On the Thessalian shore from him did flee ; 
For which the gods, in their revengeful ire, 
Did her transform into a laurel-tree." 

The Abbe St. Pierre observes that the laurel grows in abun- 
dance on the banks of the river Peneus, in Thessaly, which 
might well give occasion to the fable of the metamorphosis of 
Daphne, the daughter of that river's deity. 

Virgil celebrates the filial affection of this tree, remarking 
that the little Bay of Parnassus shelters itself under the great 
shade of its mother ; and Evelyn observes that, whilst young, 
this tree will not thrive well but under its mother's shade, 
where nothing else will thrive. 

Petrarch never wearies of celebrating the praises of this tree, 
invariably associating it with the name of his beloved Laura ; 
and he acknowledged it to have been one of the greatest 
delights he ever experienced, when, as he was crowned with it 
at Rome, he thought how often he had connected its beauties 
with the name of his heart's darling. 

Tasso also coupled this tree with his lady-love ; and the 
following lines are a prettily-rendered translation of a lyric he 
addressed to a laurel-leaf in her hair : 

" O glad triumphal bough. 
That now adornest conquering chiefs, and now 
Clippest the brows of overruling kings : 

From victory to victory 
Thus climbing on, through all the heights of story. 
From worth to worth, and glory unto glory; 

To finish all, O gentle a.nd royal tree. 
Thou reignest now upon that flourishing head, 
At whose triumphant eyes Love and our souls are led." 

Our English poets have not omitted to render all due 
honours to this famous tree. Chaucer bestows the laurel upon 
the Knights of the Round Table, the Paladins of Charlemagne, 
and some other heroes of antiquity, 

" That in their times did right worthily. 
For one lefe given of that noble tree 
To any wight that hath done worthily 
Is more honour than anything erthly." 

Laurel. Bay. 329 

It has been observed that Chaucer alludes to the genuine 
Parnassian laurel, and not to the usurper of the title, since he 
speaks of its delicious odour. 

Eliza Cook, in her symbolic poem of " The Wreaths," speaks 
of both: 

" Whom do we crown with the laurel-leaf? 
The hero-god, the soldier chief; 
But we dream of the crushing cannon-wheel, 
Of the flying shot and the reeking steel. 
Of the crimson plain where warm blood smokes. 
Where clangour deafens and sulphur chokes ; 
Oh, who can love the laurel wreath, 
Pluck'd from the gory field of death ? 

" But there 's a green and fragrant leaf 
Betokens nor revelry, blood, nor grief; 
'T is the purest amaranth springing below. 
And rests on the calmest, noblest brow. 
It is not the right of the monarch or lord. 
Nor purchased by gold, nor won by the swotd ; 
For the lowliest temples gather a ray 
Of quenchless light from the palm of bay. 

" Oh, beautiful bay ! I worship thee — 
I homage thy wreath — I cherish thy tree ; 
And of all the chaplets Fame may deal, 
'T is only to this one I would kneel. 
For as Indian fly to the banian branch, 
When tempests lower and thunders launch, 
So the spirit may turn from crowds and strife, 
And seek from the bay- wreath ioy and life." 

This popular poetess has also a thoroughly emblematical 
poem to her favourite bay-tree in her last collection of poems. 

The Floral Oracle. 

OF all the various symbolic uses to which flowers have 
been put, none probably have afforded more amuse- 
ment than The Floral Oracle. The system of divination 
practised by means of these beautiful objects undergoes various 
modifications in different countries, but the following mode 
will be found to be the simplest and most correct : Arrange a 
certain number of flowers together ; let their names, and the 
significations appropriate to them, be written down, and then 
let each person select or draw one flower by lot ; and the 
meaning attached to that blossom will typify the future con- 
sort's characteristics. The subjoined list will fully explain this 
pretty game : 


A ntbitioits. 







Mela nckoly. 








This catalogue might be considerably enlarged, but as it is 
permissible for the manipulator to change the significations 
when requisite, the above will be quite sufficient to guide the 
judgment in adding any other flowers. 

The next portion of the game is the revelation of the in- 
tended's profession or occupation, and must be practised in 
the same method as the first, thus : 

A Laurel-leaf typifies A poet. 

Apple-blossom „ A lawyer. 

Cypress „ A doctor. 

Tulip „ A freeliotder. 

Rose (Red) . 

. Affectionate. 

Violet (White) 

„ (White) 

. Modest. 


" (Pink). 

. Bashful. 

A Reed. 

„ (Yellow) 


Oak-leaf . 

Aster . 

. Fickle, 


Pink . 


Poppy . 

t)alsy . 

. Gentle. 


Tulip . 


AFig . . 

Cornflower , 


Geranium (Scented) 

Stock . 

. Hasty 

Heart *5-ease. 

. Amiable. 


. Thoughtful. 


Lily .. 

. Graceful, 


Mezereon . 

. A flirt. 

Laurel . 

Mignonette . 


Myrtle . 


. Simplicity. 

Thyme . 

A Lily 

typifies A nobleman. 

A Rose 

„ An artist. 

A Thistle 

„ A soldier. 

An Oak-leat 

„ A farmer. 

The Floral Oracle. 331 

This oracle cannot fail to excite much harmless mirth ; but 
some kinds of floral divinations, as these pages testify, have 
oft produced deeper thoughts and more serious consequences. 

A favourite plan of attempting to peep into futurity by 
means of floral agency is practised by abstracting the petals 
of flowers, and with each innocent floral theft using such alter- 
nate words as those in the following verses. It is a custom of 
considerable antiquity, and is still affectionately preserved in 
many different lands. A flower of the aster kind is generally 
made use of for the purpose, although daisies and other blooms 
occasionally serve for the same operations, and, there can be 
little doubt, are equally efficacious. Gothe, in the garden scene 
of " Faust," introduces the rural custom in order to illustrate 
the childish simplicity of Margaret. In a poem entitled " The 
Decision of the Flower," L. E. L. thus alludes to the incident : 

" The maiden found her mystic flower. He loves not— he loves me — ^he loves 
' Now, gentle flower, I pray thee tell me not — 

If my lover loves me, and loves me well ; He loves me — ^yes, thou last leaf, yes — 

So may the fall of the morning dew I'll pkick thee not for that last sweet 
Keep the sun from fading thy tender guess! 

blue. Helovesme.' 'Yesl'adearvoicesighed, 

Now I number the leaves for my lot : And herloverstands by Margaret's side. " 

One of those noble sons which fair Columbia hath sent forth 
to hymn the praises of the motherland, James Lowell — as true 
a poet in thought and word as ever breathed — has not soared 
so high but that he could stoop to pluck a few terrestrial blos- 
soms, and in these sweet fancies, sent with a pressed flower, 
finds pleasant pens^es in this pretty practice of divination : 

" This little flower from afar, " And thou must count its petals weU, 
Hath come from other lands to thine; Because it is a gift from me; 
For once its white and drooping star And tlie last one of all shall tell 
Could see its shadow in the RMne. Something I 've often told to thee. 

"Perchancesomefair-hairedGermanmaid "But here at home, where we were 
Hath plucked one from the self-same bom, 

stalk. Thou wilt find flowers just as true, 

And numbered over, half afraid, Down-bending every Summer mom 

Its petals in her evening walk. With freshness of New England dew. 

" 'He loves me, loves me not!' she cries; "For Nature, ever kind to love, 

'He loves me more than earth or heaven ! ' Hath granted them the sa7ite sweet tongue. 
And then glad tears have filled her eyes Whether with German skies above, 
To find the number was uneven. Or here our granite rocks among." 


Ihe Floral Oracle. 

Browne, of "Pastoral" fame, alludes thus to some olden 
floral custom : 

" The primroses, when with six leaves gotten grace, 
Maids as a true-love in their bosoms place." 

This custom is probably akin to a curious old one still 
practised in some country places with the rose: thus, on Mid- 
summer-eve, any girl who wishes to peep into futurity, goes 
backwards in a garden, and, without speaking a word, gathers 
a rose. She puts the flower away in a sheet of white paper, 
and does not look at it again until Christmas-day, when it will 
be found as fresh as in June. If she then places it in her bosom, 
he that is to be her husband will come and take it out ; but 
if, prompted by curiosity, she prys into the packet before the 
appointed time, the charm will be broken. 

" The moss-rose that, at fall of dew, 
Ere eve its duskier curtain drew, 
Was freshly gathered from its stem, 
She values as the ruby gem ; 
And, guarded from the piercing air, 
With all an anxious lover's care, 
She bids it, for her shepherd's sake. 
Await the New Year's frolic wake — 

When, faded, in its alter'd hue 
She reads the rustic is untrue; 
But if its leaves the crimson paint, 
Her sickening hopes no longer faint. 
The rose upon her bosom worn, 
She meets him at the peep of morn ; 
And lo ! her lips with kisses prest. 
He plucks it from her panting breast." 

In Owen's " Welsh Dictionary," the natives of Cambria are 
said to have a play in which the youth of both sexes seek for 
an even-leaved sprig of the ash ; and the first of either sex 
that finds one calls out, " cyniver," and is answered by the first 
of the other that succeeds ; and these two, if the omen fails not, 
are to be joined in wedlock. 

Gesner, the pastoral poet and botanist, says that the lads 
and lasses of certain Swiss villages proved the sincerity of their 
lovers by placing' a petal of the poppy-blossom in the hollow 
of the left hand-palm, and then striking it with the other hand. 
If it broke with a sharp report, it attested the fidelity of the 
wooer; whilst if, on the contrary, it failed to break, it proved 
his or her faithlessness : 

" By a prophetic poppy-leaf I found 
Your changed affection, for it gave no sound. 
Though in my hand struck hollow as it lay ; 
But quickly withered, like your love, away. " 

It is the custom with some young folks to burn the holly and 

The Floral Oracle. 333 

other evergreens used for decoration at Christmas, so many- 
eves after that national festival, and according to the brilliancy 
and crackling of the leaves in the fire, so do they draw morals 
as to the steadfastness or falsehood of their admirers. 

A writer on various matrimonial and amatory superstitious 
customs, observes that the belief in the efficacy of St. John's- 
wort is very widely spread, and gives the following version of 
a poem transcribed from a German publication; 

' The young maid stole through the cottage door. 
And blushed as she sought the plant of power. 
' Thou silver glowworm, O lend me thy light, 
I must gather the mystic St. John's-wort to-night ; 
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide 
If the coming year shall make me a bride ! ' 
And the glowworm came 
With its silvery flame. 
And sparkled and shone 
Thro' the night of St. John; 
And soon as the young maid her love-knot tied. 

" With noiseless tread 

To her chamber she sped. 
Where the spectral moon her white beams shed. 
' Bloom here, bloom here, thou plant of power. 
To deck the young bride in her bridal hour !' 
But it drooped its head, that plant of power. 
And died the mute death of the voiceless flower; 
And a withered wreath on the ground it lay, 
More meet for a burial than bridal day. 
And when a year was past away. 
All pale on her bier the young maid lay I 

And the glowworm came 

With its silvery flame, 

And sparkled and shone 

Thro' the night of St. John; 
And they closed the cold grave o'er the maid's cold clay." 

Many other somewhat similar floral oracles are yet consulted 
in various parts of the world, and many somewhat resemblant 
customs are still practised, as will be perceived by the student 
of this volume, wherein may be discovered some amusing 
modes of consulting these modern Sibylline Leaves, with a 
certainty of obtaining oracular responses. 

There yet, however, remains some customs appertaining to 
florigraphy which must be noticed here, not the least inte- 
resting of which are those mysterious ceremonies connected 
with the festival of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of matri- 

334 The Floral Oracle. 

monially-inclined birds and lovers ; and upon the eve of whose 
day — that sacred day to which the crocus is dedicated — ''all 
the rising generation," observes an unloveable author, "feel 
that they have reached the years of indiscretion, and think it 
full time for them to fall in love, or be fallen in love with. 
Accordingly, infinite are the crow-quills that move mincingly 
between embossed margins, 

" ' And those rhyme now who never rhymed before, 

And those who always rhymed now rhyme the more ! ' ' 

As a tribute to the saint, Montgomery has placed the fol- 
lowing valentine wreath upon the vernal shrine of the New 

" Rosy red the hills appear " O'er the margin of the flood 

With the hght of morning, PIuclc the daisy peeping; 

Beauteous clouds, in aether clear, Througli the covert of the wood 

All the east adorning; Hunt the sorrel creeping; 

White through mist the meadows shine : With the little celandine 
Wake, my love, my valentine 1 Crown my love, my valentine I 

" For thy locks of raven hue, " Pansies on their lowly stems 

Flowers of hoar-frost pearly, Scattered o'er the fallows, 

Crocus-cups of gold and blue. Hazel-buds with crimson gems. 

Snowdrops drooping early. Green and glossy sallows, 

With mezereon-si^rigs combine : Tufted moss and ivy twine. 

Rise, my love, my valentine ! Deck my love, my valentine 1 

"Few and simple flow'rets these ; 
Yet to me less glorious 
Garden-beds and orchard-trees 1 

Since this wreath victorious 
Binds you now for ever mine, 
O my love, my valentine I " 

A very ancient custom in vogue on the eve of the anxiously- 
awaited Fourteenth of February is thus described in the almost 
forgotten "Connoisseur:" "Last Friday was Valentine's Day, 
and the night previous I got five bay-leaves, and pinned four 
of them to the four corners of my pillows, and the fifth to the 
middle; and then, if I dreamt of my sweetheart, I was told 
that we should be married before the year was out." Whether 
the fates proved propitious deponent does not state. Another 
and more daring attempt to wrest, by means of florigraphic 
oracles, the secrets of futurity, is practised by country maidens 
on St. Mark's-eve. Towards dusk they proceed to the church 
porch, and there place a bouquet of certain symbolic flowers 

The Floral Oracle. 335 

in a position where it may readily be found in the dark ; they 
then return home and await the approach of midnight. Just 
before twelve o'clock strikes they once more proceed to the 
church, and the one who seeks to learn her fate remains in the 
porch until the hour has struck : the girl's friends are permitted 
to accompany her as far as the gate of the churchyard, but 
beyond that she must perform her adventurous journey alone. 
When she gains the bouquet she beholds, if she is to be married 
within the year, a wedding procession pass by, with a bride in 
her own likeness, walking with that of her future husband: as 
many bridesmen and maidens as she sees following the bridal 
pair, so many months will elapse before the foreshadowed 
wedding. If she is to die unmarried, then the expected pro- 
cession will be a funeral, consisting of a coffin covered with a 
white pall, and borne on the shoulders of twelve seeming head- 
less phantoms. 

In a fiction attributed to Hannah More, it is related that, 
among other superstitious practices of a certain Sally Evans, 
" she would never go to bed on Midsummer-eve without stick- 
ing up in her room the well-known plant called midsiiinmer 
mew, as the bending of the leaves to the right or to the left 
would never fail to tell her whether her lover was true or false." 
The plant here alluded to is better known as orpine, and the 
above custom is thus adverted to in the " Cottage Girl," a poem 
purporting to have been written on Midsummer-eve, 1786: 

" The rastic maid invokes her swain, " Oft on the shrub she casts her eye, 
And hails, to pensive damsels dear. That spoke her true-love's secret sigh. 

This eve, though direst of the year. Or else, alas ! too plainly told 

« * « « » Her true-love's faithless heart was cold." 

Such floral customs, as everyone knows, are not confined to 
one particular nation or one especial district, but are practised 
with unimportant alterations in every country of the globe, 
and by all peoples. 


Typical Bouquets. 

THE editor of a well-arranged language of flowers, chiefly 
translated from the French, tells us that in the East a 
bouquet of token-flowers, "ingeniously selected and put to- 
gether for the purpose of communicating in secret and expres- 
sive language the sentiments of the heart, is called a salaam, 

or salutation Written love-letters would often be 

inadequate to convey an idea of the feelings which are thus 
expressed through the medium of flowers. Thus orange- 
blossoms signify hope ; marygolds, despair ; sunflowers, con- 
stancy ; roses, beauty ; and tulips represent the complaints of 
infidelity. This hieroglyphic language is known only to the 
lover and his mistress. In order to envelope it more com- 
pletely in the veil of secrecy, the significations of the different 
flowers are changed in conformity with a preconcerted plan : 
for example, the rose is employed to express the idea which 
would otherwise be attached to the amaranth ; the carnation 
is substituted for the pomegranate-blossom, and so on." 

The Chinese and Persian ladies have much of that taste 
and love of beauty and elegance which belong especially to 
Oriental nations, and signify their love, friendship, anger, dis- 
dain, and other feelings by various blossoms formed into bou- 
quets ; and to them the flowers convey a language of their 
own. We are told that in Persia, for instance, the tulip, whose 
blossom in its native country is scarlet, while the centre of its 
glowing cup is black, is used to express warm affection, and, 
when sent by a lover, will convey to the object of his attach- 
ment the idea that, like this flower, his face is warm, and his 
heart consumed as a coal. 

The gradual progress of affection is expressed by the gift of 
a rose in its various developments, from the small rosebud to 
the fully expanded blossom ; and despair is signified by the 

TypiCAL Bouquets. 337 

nosegay formed of myrtle entwined with the cypress and 
poppy. The two latter symbols would find a ready interpre- 
tation in any country ; but to us the gay tulip might seem ill 
adapted to convey sentiment, and would rather remind us of 
that display which courts admiration. The bergamotte and 
jasmine, both of which in Eastern countries possess the most 
powerful fragrance, are beautifully emblematic of the sweets ot 

Reverting next to India, which, as a florigraphical authority 
states, " may be regarded as the cradle of poetry," we are in- 
formed that it is customary there to express by the combina- 
tion of flowers those sentiments of the heart which are regarded 
as too refined and sacred to be communicated through the 
common medium of words. The young females of Amboyna 
are singularly ingenious in the art of conversing in the language 
of flowers and fruits. Yet this language, like that employed 
in Turkey and in other parts of the East, bears little resem- 
blance to that with which we have been hitherto acquainted in 
Europe ; although, according to the received notion, we were 
indebted for our first knowledge of this language to the Cru- 
saders and to pilgrims who visited the Holy Land. 

Lady Montague tells us that in Turkey you may, through 
the assistance of these emblems, either quarrel, reproach, or 
send letters of passion, friendship, or civility, or even news, 
without ever inking your fingers ; for there is no weed, no fruit, 
no herb, nor flower, that has not a verse belonging to it. So, 
too, no Turkish lady would send a congratulatory message, or 
a ceremonious invitation, without sending with it some em- 
blematical flowers, carefully wrapped in an embroidered hand- 
kerchief, made fragrant by the odours of other flowers, which 
conveyed also an emblematical meaning. But these are merely 
fragments of the customs of the Eastern nations, where all was 
symbol, emblem, and allegory, and where imagination usurped 
the power and controlled even the affairs of state. 

In his "Letters on Greece," Castellan remarks that, when 
he was passing through a valley on the Bosphorus, his atten- 
tion was engaged by an incident thoroughly characteristic of 
Oriental life. Beneath the grated window of a small country 
villa stood a young Turk, serenading the object of his aff'ection 
with some such lay as this : 

338 Typical Bouquets. 

"The nightingale wanders from flower to flower. 
Seeking the rose, his heart's only prize; 
Thus did my love change every hour, 
Until I saw thee, light of my eyes ! " 

On the conclusion of this love ditty, the lattice of the win- 
dov/ was opened, and a small white hand dropped a. bouquet 
of flowers, which was picked up and eagerly scrutinized by the 
serenader. Apparently satisfied by the message thus conveyed, 
he fastened it to his turban, signified his approval to the con- 
cealed donor, and withdrew. From his garb he appeared no- 
thing more than a poor water-carrier ; but, says the Turkish 
proverb, " however high a woman's head may be, her feet touch 
the earth." The hidden damsel was, it appears, actually the 
daughter of a wealthy Jew. 

There is an appropriate passage in the " Bride of Abydos " 
relating to a token-bouquet : 

" She saw in curious order set, 

The fairest flowers of Eastern land : 
He loved them once — may touch them yet, 

If offered by Zuleika's hand. 
The childish thought was hardly breathed 
Before the rose was plucked and wreathed ; 
The next fond moment saw her seat 
Her fairy form at Selim's feet. 
' This rose, to calm my brother's fears, 
A message from the bulbul* bears ; 
It says, to-night he will prolong. 
For Selim's ear, his sweetest song ; 
And though his note is somewhat sad, 
He '11 try, for once, a strain more glad. 
With some faint hope, his altered lay 
May sing these gloomy thoughts away.' " 

The delicate manner in which the French make use of this 
sweet mode of floral correspondence may be gathered from 
this " Dialogue " of Christine Fire : 


"I give to thee the Autumn rose, "I give to thee the aspen-leaf — 

Let it say how dear thou art j 'T is to show I tremble still 

All my lips dare not disclose. When I muse on all the grief 

Let it whisper to thy heart ; Love can cause, if false or ill ; 

How love draws my soul to thee. How, too, many have believed. 

Without language thou may'st see. Tnisted long, and been deceived. 


Y'vpicAL Bouquets. 339 


"I give to thee a faded wreath, " I give to thee the honey-floWer, 

Teaching thee, alas! too well. Courteous, best, and bravest knight; 

How I spent my latest breath. Fragrant in the Summer shower. 

Seeking all my truth to tell; Shrinking from the sunny light: 

But thy coldness made me die May it not an emblem prove 

Victim of thy cruelty. Of untold, but tender love?" 

Many of the Scotch poets have availed themselves of the 
charming fancies of floralic emblems with which to paint the 
emotions of loving, and portray the beauties of their beloved. 
None of them have made more successful incursions into these 
tempting blossomy realms of floral romance than has Burns, 
as for instance, in his pretty " Posie," of which lyric. Professor 
Wilson remarked, that similar sentiments inspired Meleager, 
in the composition of his symbolic " Garland of Heliodora : " 

" O luve will venture in where it dauma weel be seen; 
O luve will venture in where wisdom aince has been ; 
But I will down yon river rove, amang the wood sae green — ■ 
And a' to pu' a posie to my ain dear May. 

" The primrose I will pu', the firstling of the year. 
And I will pu' the pink, the emblem o' my dear. 
For she 's the pink o' womankind, and blooms without a peer — 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

" I '11 pu' the budding rose when Phoebus peeps in view. 
For it 's like a bonnie kiss o' her sweet bonnie mou' ; 
The hyacinth for constancy, wi' its unchanging blue — 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

" The lily it is pure, and the lily it is fair. 
And in her lovely bosom I '11 place the lily there ; 
The daisy's for simplicity and unaffected air — 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

" The hawthorn I will pu', with its locks o' siller gray. 
Where, like an aged man, it stands at break of day. 
But the songster's nest within the bush I winna' tak' away — 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

" The woodbine I will pu' when the e'ening star is near, 
And the diamond-drops of dew shall be her een sae clear; 
The violet 's for modesty which weel she fa's to wear — 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

" I '11 tie the posie round wi' the silken band o' luve. 
And I '11 place it in her breast, and I '11 swear by a* above. 
That to my latest draught of life the band shall ne'ei remove — 
And this will be a posie to my ain dear May." 

How, had he read this heartfelt " simple lay," could Holmes 

have sung : 

22 — a 

34° Typical Bouquets. 

" Can a simple lay, 
Flung on thy bosom like a girl's bouquet. 
Do more than deck thee for an idle hour, 
Then fall unheeded, fading like the flower?" 

How, indeed, could he have rhymed — he who tells us "with- 
ered flowers recall forgotten love " — had he even had such a 
gossip with a bouquet as did Mrs. Sigourney, wherein she did 
^onjure the fair typical creatures to 

" Speak, speak, sweet guests ! 

Yes, ope your lips in words, 
'T is my delight to talk with you, and fain 
1 'n have an answer. I 've been long convinced 
You understand me ; '' 

for, as this same sweet poetess says, though their 

" Language is slow. 
Yet theirs is a love 

Simple and sure, that asks no discipline 
Of weary years, — the language of the soul 
Told through the eye " 

by means of emblematic flowers. 

What a boon to lovers this fragrant language must be ! 
Well might Leigh Hunt exclaim, " in words that breathe " as 
sweetly as the subject of his verse : 

" An exquisite invention this. Taking due care one's flowers of speech 

Worthy of love's most honied kiss. To guard from blight as well as bathos. 

This art of writing hUlet doux And watering, every day, one's pathos. 

In buds and odours, and bright hues: ,. , , ^^ . , . 

In saying aU one feels and thinks ^ letter comes just gathered : we 

In clever daffodils and pinks, J5°'«, °" "^ ^f^'^f'^ bnUiancy ; 

Uttering (as well as silence may) ]!'}?, '" ! ^^ expression 

The sweetest words the sweetest way : ?/ balm and pea ; and its confession. 

How fit, too, for the lady's bosom, ^""^^ ^"1» ^ P'f' a maiden blush 

The place where billet doux repose 'em. ^s ever morn bedew d m bush; 

^ "^ And then, when we have kissed its wit, 

" How charming in some rural spot, And heart, in water putting it. 

Combining lave with garden plot. To keep its remarks fresh, go round 

At once to cultivate one's flowers, Our little eloquent plot of ground. 

And one's epistolary powers. And with delighted hands compose 

Growing one's own choice words and Our answer, all of lily and rose, 

fancies Of tuberose and of violet. 

In orange-tubs and beds of pansies ; And little darling Cmignonelte), 

One's sighs and passionate declarations And gratitude and polyanthus, 

In odorous rhet'ric of carnations ; And flowers that say, ' Felt never man 
Seeing how far one's stocks will reach; thus !'" 

Although, in these typical bouquets, much must depend on 

Typical Bouquets. 


the character of the messages intended to be conveyed ; i:2Jon 
the variety of the flowers obtainable ; and upon the ingenuity 
of the sender — the following few simple examples of floral 
epistles may not prove unacceptable : 

Example Bouquets. 

I — May Maternal Love protect your Youth in Innocence and Joy. 

EmbUms reqttired: 

Intwcati t, 


II. — Your Friendliness bids me hope to obtain your Love. 

Emblems required: 
\\-y or Acacia, Fi-iendship. Snowdrop or Hawthorn, Hope. Myrtle or Rose, LotfS, 

III. — Let the Bonds of Marriage unite us. 

Emblems required: 
Blue Convolvulus, Bonds. Linden-leaf or Yellow Ivy, Matrimony. A few Straws, Union. 

IV. — Keep your Promise to meet me to-night. Do not Forget. 

Emblems required: 
Keep yoitr protftise. | Convolvulus . . Night. 


Maternal love. 


Bearded CrepJs, or 




Wood Sorrel 

Sweet Pea 

A meeting. 

Forget-me-not , 

Do not/orgei. 

A Red Rose, / love you. 

VL — By Foresight you will surmount vour Difficulties. 

Emblems required: 
Holly, Foresight. Mistletoe, You "will surmount your difficultiet, 

VII.— To Love is a Pleasure, a Happiness, which intoxicates; to cease to Lovh i3i 


is Falsehood, Love an Art, and Happiness a Dream. 
EmiUms required: 

Pink . 

Pure iove. 



Wood Sorrel or Ivy Joy. 

Daisy . 


Sweet Sultan . 








Pink, reversed 

Cessation of love. 

Acanthus . 

An art. 

Lucem, reversed 

Cessation of lije. 

Sweet Su!3a . 



A purchase. 

Poppy . 


A dead leaf . 


Emblematic Garlands. 

"They tell in a garland their loves and cares." 

EMBLEMATIC GARLANDS hold such an important 
position in floral symbolism that, despite the many 
allusions to them in various portions of this work, it was 
deemed undesirable to leave them without the honour of a 
distinct chapter. 

What a prominent part wreaths and garlands played in the 
social histories of Greece, Rome, and the middle ages of 
Europe has already been depicted in former pages ; it there- 
fore only remains to turn to our poets, and hear what sweet 
things they have to say upon the subject. Our older bards 
were frequently accustomed to make their heroes 

" Gather a wreath from the garden bowers. 
And tell the wish of their hearts in flowers;" 

and none have left more noteworthy examples than William 
Browne and Michael Drayton, the latter of whom, in his 
" Muses' Elysium," thus heralds the way : 

'* The garland long ago was worn 
As Time pleased to bestow it : 
The laurel onl> to adorn 
The comjueror and the poet, 

" The palm his due who, uncontroU'd, 
On danger looking gravely, 
When Fate had done tlie worst it could, 
Who bore his fortune bravely. 

" Most worthy of the oaken wreath 
The ancients hnn esteemed 
Who in a battle had from death 
Some man of worth redeemed. 

" A wreath of vervain heralds wear. 
Among our garlands named, 

Being sent the dreadful news to bear, 
Offensive war proclaim'd. 

" The sign oi peace who first displays 
The olive wreath possesses; 
The lover with the myrtle sprays 
Adonis his crisped tresses. 

" In love, the ssA forsaken wight. 
The willow garland weareth; 
The funeral w.ght, befitting night, 
The baleful cypress bearetk. 

" 'I'o Pan we dedicate the pine, 

Whose slips the shepherd graceth ; 
Again, the ivy and the vine 

On the swoll'n Bacchus placeth." 

Emblematic Garlands. 


Amongst modern garlanders, Eliza Cook, in her poem of 
" The Wreaths," has entered fully into the spirit of these 
typical coronals, but as the poem will be met with in another 
section of this book, we will pass on to these lines, from the 
"Oriental Love-letter" of Mrs. Pickersgill: 

" Within the harem's still retreat, 
Sitara, at that lovely hour 
Of eve, had sought her lonely seat. 
And on embroidered couches laid, 
Reclin'd the pensive Moslem maid. 
In vain the beauteous woodbine's 

Like Love's light bonds, the casement 

Wafting their tribute of perfiime. 
And laughing in their roseate bloom ; 
Yon all n^lected lay her lute 
Whose every moving strain was mute ; 
No longer was her buoyant song 
Borne by the southern breeze along. 
Nor flowers, nor lute, nor sparkling 

Could woo her from Love's witching 

Though close within the harem bower 
They deem'd her safe from Love's fond 

Yet in what deep sequester'd cell 
Will not the winged urchin dwell? 
For e'en within a flow'ry wreath 
Young Love his first fond vows may 

And bright emblem flowers declare 
Joy — Absence — Thraldom — Hope — 

Despair ! 

" Perchance amid those flowers he dwells. 
Nestling beneath the myrtle-bells. 

And on its fragrance wafts a sigh 
While sunned beneath her radiant eye. 
And e'en those buds of crimson hue 
Breathe vows of love, both pure and 

While the bright golden flow'ret bears 
His ever-changing hopes and fears ; 
And Beauty's type, the joyous rose. 

Unfolds the soft and flattering tale. 
That her young cheek vnth liLstre glows. 

Which makes his vaunted bloom seem 
Then may not her young bosom well 
Receive the vows those emblems tell ; 
And her dark downcast eye reveal 
Thoughts which her tongue might else 

And why, then, from the garland's pride 
Does she those simple flowers divide. 
And place them pensively apart, 
As if some chord within her heart 
Vibrated? Know, amidst their bloom 

Those purple buds of absence breathe. 
Which well might shed a passing gloom 

O'er her fair brow — did not the 
Of fairy Hope from Spring's bright 

Shine in those tufts of snowy flowers. 
Which, joined with Memory's solace, still 
Shield's Love's young buds from Win- 
ter's chill." 

Pringle, one of old Scotia's peasant bards, has also arranged 
these " interpreters of love " in a representative wreath : 

" I sought the garden's gay parterre. 
To cull a wreath for Mary's hair. 
And thought I surely here might find 
Some emblem of her lovely mind, 
Where taste displays the varied bloom 
Of Flora's beauteous drawing-room. 
And first of peerless form and hue. 
The stately lily caught my view, 
Fair bending from her graceful stem 

Like queen with regal diadem ; 

But though I vie%ved her with delight, 

She seem'd too much to woo the sight — 

A fashionable belle — to shine 

In some more courtly wreath than 

I turned, and saw a tempting row 
Of flaunting tulips, full in blow ; 
But left them with their gaudy dyes 

344 Emblematic Garlands. 

To Nature's beaux — the butterflies. Of friends that change as fortunes shift ! 

Bewildered 'mid a thousand hues, Tired of the search, I bent my way 

Still harder grew the task to choose : Where Teviot's haunted waters stray ; 

Here, delicate carnations bent And from the wild flowers of the grove 

Their heads in lovely languishment — I framed a garland for my love : 

Much as a pensive Miss expresses. The slender circlet first to twine 

With neck declined, her soft distresses I I plucked the rambling eglantine, 

There, gay jonquils in foppish pride That decked the cliffs in clusters free, 

Stood by the painted lily's side, As sportive and as sweet as she : 

And hollyhocks superbly tall I stole the violet from the brook, 

Beside the crown imperial ; Though hid like her in shady nook, 

But still, 'midst all this gorgeous glow, And wove it with the mountain thyme — 

Seemed less of sweetness than of show. The myrtle of our stormy clime : 

While close beside in warning grew The harebell looked like Mary's eye. 

The allegoric thyme and me. The blush-rose breathed her tender sigli, 

There, too, stood that fair-weather And daisies, bathed in dew, exprest 

flower, Her innocent and gentle breast. 

Which, faithful still in .sunshine hour. And now, my Mary's brow to braid. 

With fervent adoration turns This chaplet in her bower is laid, 

Its breast where golden Phoebus burns — A fragrant emblem, fresh and wild, 

Base symbol (which I scorned to lift) Of simple Nature's sweetest child." 

Percival, one of the countless multitudes of new and true 
minstrels who have sprung up during the last half-century in 
" the land of the free," has in the annexed emblematic wreath 
expressed the American fondness for that Oriental fancy — the 
language of flowers : 

" In Eastern lands they talk in flowers, 

And they tell in a garland their loves and cares : 
Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers, 
On its leaves a mystic language bears. 

" The rose is a sign of joy and love. 

Young blushing love in its earliest dawn ; 

And the mildness that suits the gentle dove. 

From the myrtle's snowy flower is drawn. 

" Innocence shines in the lily's bell. 

Pure as the heart in its native heaven ; 
Fame's bright star and glory's swell, 
In the glossy leaf of the bay are given. 

" The silent, soft, and humble heart. 

In the violet's hidden sweetness breathes; 
And the tender soul that cannot part, 
A twine of evergreen fondly wreathes. 

" The cypress that daily shades the grave. 
Is sorrow that mourns her bitter lot ; 
And faith, that a thousand ills can brave. 
Speaks in thy blue leaves, forget-me-not. 

" Then gather a wreath from the garden bowers, 
And tell the wish of thy heart in flowers. " 

The Vocabulary'. 

The Vocabulary. 

Acacia .... 
Acacia, Rose or White. 
Acacia, Yellow , 

Acalia .... 
Achillea Mtllefolia 
Achimenes Cupreata . 
Aconite (Wolfsbane) . 
Aconite, Crowfoot 
Adonis, Flos 
African Marigold Castus 

Almond, Common 

Almond, Flowering 

Almond, Laurel . 


Aloe .... 

Althaea Fnitex Syrian) 

Mallow) . 
Alyssum, Sweet . 
Amaranth, Globe 

Amaranth (Cockscomb) 


Ambrosia . - 
American Cowslip 
American Elm 
American Linden 
American Starwort 

Amethyst . • . 

Andromeda . 

Anemone (Zephyr Fir.) 

Anemone, Garden 


Angrec . . ■ 

Apricot Blossom . 

Apple . 

Apple Blossom • 





Secret love. 

Thejinearts. Artifice. 



Suck worth is rare. 



Sad memories. 

Vulgar mintis. 

Coldness. Indifference. 

'i'liankfulness. Grnti- 

i tupidity. Indiscretion 
Grief. Religious snper- 

stition. Bitterness. 


Worth beyond beauty, 

Jnnnortality Unfad- 
ing love. 

Foppery. Affectation. 

Pride. Timidity. 

Splendid beauty. 

Love returned. 

Divine beauty. 



Welcome to a stranger. 
Cheerfulness in old age. 



Sicktiess. Expectation. 


Inspiration^ or Magic. 




Preference. Fame 

speaks hiin great and 

Arbutus • . . 
Arum (Wake Robin) . 
Ash - leaved Trumpet 

Ash, Mountain 

Ash Tree 
Aspen Tree . 
Aster (China) 


Auricula, Scarlet . 
Aiislurtium . 
Autumnal Leaves 
Azalea . 

Thee only do I lavt. 
Ardour. Zeal. 

Pr7tdeuce, or With me 

you are safe. 

Lamentation^ or Fear. 
Variety. After-thought. 
My regrets follow you 

to the grave. 

Apple, Thorn . . Deceitful charms. 
Apucynum (Dogsbane) Deceit. 
Aruor Vitae . . Uucha7igin§ friend- 

ship. Live for me. 

Balm . . . . 
Balm, Gentle 
Balm of Gilead . 
Balsam, Red 

Balsam, Yellow . 

Basil . . . . 
Bay Leaf 

Bay (Rose) Rhododen- 
dron . . . . 
Bay Tree . , 
Bay Wreath . 
Bearded Crepis . 
Beech Tree . 
Bee Orchis . 
Bee Ophrys . 
Belladonna . 
Bell Flower, Pyramidal. 
Bell Flower (sm. white) 
Betony . , • 
Bindweed, Great . 

Bindweed, Small . 
Birch . . . . 
Blrdsfoot (Trefoil) 
Bittersweet ; Night- 

Crtre Relief. 
'Touch me not. Intpa 

tient resolves. 
Sharpness of temper. 
I change but in death 

Danger. Beware, 


Reward of merit. 






Silence. Hush ! 



I declare against you 



Insinuation. Importt - 


. Truib. 


The Vocabulary. 

Black Poplar , 

Blackthorn . 
Bladder Nut Tree 
Bluebottle (Centaury) . 

Blue-flowered Greek 

Valerian . 
Bonus Henricus 
Borage . 
Box Tree . 

Branch of Currants 

Branch of Thorns 

liridal Rose . 

Broom . . . . 

Browallia Jamisonii 


Bud of White Rose . 

Buglos . . . . 


Bundle of Reeds, with 

their Panicles . 


Buttercup (Kingcup) . 

Buttercups . 
Butterfly Orchis . 
Butterfly Weed . 

Cactus . 

Calla ^thiopica . 
Calceolaria . 


Camellia Japonica, Red 

T^itto, White 

Camomile . 

Campanula Pyramida . 
Canary Grass 
Canterbury Bell 
Cape Jasmine 
Cardamine . 
Carnation, Deep Red . 

Carnation, Striped 
Carnation, Yellow 
Cardinal Flower 
Catchfly, Red 
Catchfly, White 

Cattleya, Pineli . 
Cedar . . . . 
Cedar of Lebanon 
Cedar Leaf . 
Celandine, Lesser 

Courage, Affliction. 

Frivolity. Atniisement. 

Constancy. Sorrowful 

R upturn. 




Lowliness. Envy. Re- 

You please all. 

Severity. Rigour. 

Happy love. 

Hmnility. Neatness. 

Couldyou bear poverty ? 

Calm repose. 

A heart ignorant of 


Indiscretion. Docility. 


Importunity. Tottch 

me not. 
Rudeness. You iveary 

Ingratitude. Childish- 

Let me go. 




Magnificent beauty. 

I offer you pecuniaty 
assistance^ or I offer 
you my fortune. 


Unpretending excel- 

Perfected loveliness. 

Energy in adve* sity. 





A cknoivledgnient. 

I am too hafPy. 

Paternal error. 

Alas! for my poor 





Youthful love. 


Mature charms. 

Matronly grace. 



I live for thee. 

Joys to come. 

Cereus, Creeping. 

Chequered Fritillary 
Cherry Tree, White 
Cherry Blossom , 
Chestnut Tree 
Chinese Primrose 
Chickweed . 
China Aster . 
China Aster, Double 

China Aster, Single 
China or Indian Pink 
China Rose . 

. Modest genius. 
. Delicacy. 
. Suspicion. 
. Persecution. 
. Good education. 
. Insincerity. 
. Do me justice. 
. Lastijig love. 
. Rendezvous. 
. Frugality. 
. Variety. 

. I partake ymtr senti- 
. I •will think of it. 
. Aversion. 
. Beauty altvays ne^v. 
Chrysanthe- Clieerfubtess under ad- 
mum . . . versity. 

Chorozema Varium . You luive many loz>et s. 
Christmas Rose . . Relieve my anxiety. 
Chrysanthemum, Red . / love. 
Chrysanthemum, White Truth. 
Chrysanthemum, Yell. Slighted love. 
Cineraria . . A livays delightful. 

Cinquefoil . . . Maternal a ffectioft. 
Circsea .... Spell. 
Cistus, or Rock Rose . Popular favour. 
Cistus, Gum . . / shall die to-7uor}-oiu. 

Citron . . . Ill-natured beauty. 

Clarkia .... The variety of your con- 
versation delights me. 
. Mental beauty. Ariifi 
. Poverty. 

. Worldliness. Self-seek- 
. Rtide7tess. Pertirutcity. 
, Dignity. 
. Be 7ni?te. 
. Industry. 

. Think of me. Proviise. 
. Gossip. 
Cockscomb Amaranth . Foppery. Affectation. 

Colchicum, or Meadow 

Saffron . . . My best days are fast. 
Coltsfoot . . . yustice shall be done. 
Columbine . . . Folly. 
Columbine, Purple . Resolved to ivin. 
" ' ' ' ^ Anxious and trvmh- 


Clematis, Evergreen 


Clotbur . 

Cloves . 

Clover, Fout-leaveJ 

Clover, Red . 

Clover, White 


Columbine, Red 
Convolvulus . 

. Bont 


Convolvulus, Bl. (Min.) Repose. Ni^ht. 
Convolvulus, Major . Extinguis/ied hopes. 

Convolvulus, Pink 

Coreopsis Arkansa 

Com, Broken 
Corn Straw . 
Corn Bottle . 
Corn Cockle . 
Cornflower . 
Cornel Tree , 

, Worth sustained ^y ju- 
dicious and tender 

. Impatient of absence. 

. Alivays cheerf\-l. 

. Love at fiJ si sig/it. 

. Hidden wvrth. 

• Riches. 

, Quarrel. 

. Agreement. 

. Delicacy. 

. Gentility. 

. Delicacy. 

. Duration. 

. Success croivH you* 

The Vocabulary. 


Cosmelia Subra . 
Cowslip ... 

Cowslip, American 

Crab (Blossom) 


Creeping Cereus 


Crocus . 

Crocus, Spring 

Crocus, Saffron 

Crown, Imperial 



Crowfoot (Aconite-lvd. 

Cuckoo Plant 

Cudweed, American 

Currant . 

The charm, of a blush. 
. Pensive?iess. Winning 
grace. Youthful 

. Divine beauty. 
. Ill 7iature. 
. Cnre for heartache. 
. Horror. 

. Stability. Power. 
. Abitsenot. Itnfatience. 
. YoutJifnl gladness. 
. Mirth. Ckeer/ulnt'ss. 
. Majesty. Potuer. 
. Envy. 
. Ingratitude, 
,) Lustre. 
. Ardour. 

. Unceasing remem- 
. Thyfrovm,-willkillnie. 
. Meanness. 
. Diffidence. 
. Death. Mourning. 



Dahlia . 
Daisy . 
Daisy, Garden 
Daisy, Michaelmas 


Daisy, Parti-coloured 
Daisy, Wild . 
Damask Rose 
Dandelion . 
Dandelion, or Thistle- 

- Regard. 

. Instability. 

. Innocence. 

. I shareyoursentimeitts. 

. FarcTuellf or After- 

. Beauty. 

. I will think of it. 

. Brilliant complexion. 
Rustic oracle. 

Daphne Odora 
Darnel . 
Dead Leaves 
Deadly Nightshade 
Dew Plant . 
Dianthus . 
Diosma , 

. Depart. 
. Glory. Immortality. 
. Painting tJie lily. 
, Vice. 
. Sadness. 
. Falsehood 
. A serenade. 
, Make haste. 
, Your simple elegance 
charms me. 

Dipteracanthus Specta- 

bilis ... - Fortitude. 
Diplademia Crassinoda You are too bold. 
Dittany of Crete . . Birth. 
Dittany of Crete, White Passion. 

Dodder of Thyme 
Dogsbane • 
Dogwood . • 
Dragon Plant 
Dragonwort . 
Dried Flax . 

. Patience. 

. Baseness. 

, Deceit. Falsehood. 

. Durability. 

. Snare. 

. Horror, 

. Utility. 

EBONY TREE . Blackness. 
Echites Atropur- 
purea . . Be warned in trme. 
Eglantine (Sweetbriar) Poetry, I wound to 

Elder , . • , Zealousness. 
Elm .... Digtiity. 
Enchantcr'sNightshade Witchcraft. Sorcery. 

Endive . . . . 

Eupatorium . 
Evening Primrose 
Ever-flowing Candytuft 
Evergreen Clematis 
Evergreen Thorn . 
Everlasting . 

Everlasting Pea , 



Ficoides, Ice Plant 

Fig Marygold 

Fig Tree 

Filbert . 


Fir Tree 

Flax , 

Flax-lvd. Golden-locks 
Flowering Fern . 
Flowering Reed . 
Fly Orchis , 
Flytrap . 
Fool's Paisley 
Foxtail Grass 
Franciscea Latifolia 
French Honeysuckle 
French Marygold . 
French Willow 
Frog Ophrys 
Fuller's Teasel . 
Fuchsia, Scarlet 
Furze, or Gorse . 


Do not refuse me. 


Silent Love. 



Solace in adversity. 

Never-ceasing renicm- 

Lasting pleasure. 

Worthy all praise. 

Fascination. Magic. 

Your looks freeze me. 



Prolific. ^ 




Domestic industry. 
Fate. I feel your 


Flame. I hum. 
. Fire. 
. Reverie. 

, Cojtfidenre in Heaven. 
, Delicate beauty. 
, Error. 
. Deceit. 
. Silliness. 
, Forget-me-not. 
, Insincerity. 
. Sporting. 

. Beivare of false friends. 
. Rustic beauty. 
, fealousy. 

. Bravery oftd humanity 
. Disgust. 
. Misanthropy. 
. Spleen, 
. Taste. 

, Love for all seasons. 

GARDEN Anemone 
Garden Chervil . 
Garden Daisy 

Garden Marygold 
Garden Ranunculus . 

Garden Sage 
Garland of Roses . 

Germander Speedwell . 
Geranium, Dark . 
Geranium, Horseshoe- 
leaf . . . . 
Geranium, Ivy 
Geranium, Lemon 
Geranium, Nutmeg 
Geranium, Oak-leaved 



I partake your se^iti- 


You are rick in attrac- 


Reward of virtue. 





Bridal favour. 

Unexpected meetings 
Expected meeting. 

True friendship. 


The Vocabulary. 

Geranium, Pencilled 


Indian Cress 

. Warlike troihy. 

Geranium, Rose-scntd. 


Indian Jasmine 


Geranium, Scarlet 



. Attachment. 

Geranium, Silver-leavd. Recall, 

Indian Pink (Double) . A Iwavs lovely. 

Geranium, Wild . 

Stead/ast piety. 

Indian Plum 

. Privation. 

Gillyflower . 

Bonds o/affectifm. 

Iris . 

. Message. 

Gladioli . 

Ready armed. 

Iris, German 

. Flame. 

Glory Flower 

Glorious beauty. 


, Friendship. Fidelity. 

Goat's Rue . 



Golden Rod . 

. Precaution. 

Ivy, Sprig of, with Ten- 

Gooseberry , 


drils . . 

. Assiduous to please. 

Gourd . 

. Extant. Bulk. 

Grammanthus Cblora 

Your temper is too 

flora . 

. /tasty. 

JACOB'S Ladder . Comedown. 

Grape, Wild . 

. Cltarity. 

J Japan Rose 

, Beauty is your only at- 

Grass . 

. Submission. Utility. 


Guelder Rose 

. IViuter. Age. 

Japanese Lilies 

. You caufiot deceive me. 


. Amiability. 

Jasmine, Cape 

. Transport of joy. 

TT AND Flower Tree Warjiing. 

Jasmine, Carolina 

. Separation. 

n Harebell . 

. Submission. Grief. 

Jasmine, Indian 

. I attach jnyself to you. 

Hawkweed . 

. Quick'Sightedjiess. 

Jasmine, Spanish 

. Seitsuality. 



Jasmine, Yellow 

. Grace aiui elegance. 

Hazel . . 

. Reconciliation. 


, / desire a return of af- 

Heart's-ease, or Pansy 



Heath . . 

. Solitude. 

Judas Tree . 

. Uitbelief Betrayal. 


. Tears. 

Julienne, White 

. Despair itot: God is 

Heliotrope , 

. Devotion or^ I turn to 




. Sjtccour. Protection. 

Hellebore . . 

. Scaftdal. Calumny. 


. The perfection of fe- 

Helmet Flower(Monks 

male loveliness. 


. Kfiight-errantry. 


Hemp . . • 


. You 'will be my death. 

. Fate. 

. I uipir/ection. 

J\. Kingcups 

. Mental beauty. 
. Desire of ric/ies. 

Hepatica . . 

. Conjidence. 


. Delicate beauty. 


. Forsaken. Pensive 

Holly . . . 

. Foresight. 


Holly Herb . 

. Enchantment. 

Lady's Slipper 

. CapHciousheauiy. Win 

Hollyhock . 

. A mbition. Fecundity. 

vie and wear me. 


, No f testy, Fascijiation. 

Lagerstrsmia, Indian . Eloquence. 

Honey Flower . 

. Ltme sweet and secret. 


. Rigour. 


. Generous and devoted 

Lapageria Rosea 

. Tliere is no unalloyed 



Honeysuckle, Coral 

. The colour oj my fate. 

Larch . 

. Audacity. Boldness. 

Honeysuckle, French 

Rustic beauty. 


. Lightjtess. Levity. 

Hop . 

. Injustice. 

Larkspur, Pink 

. Fickleness. 

Hornbeam . 

. Ornament. 

Larkspur, Purple 

. Haughtiness. 

Horse Chestnut . 

. Luxury. 

Laurel . 

. Glory. 

Hortensia . 

. You are cold. 

Laurel, Common, in 

Houseleek . . 

. Vivacity. Domestic in- 


. Perfidy. 


Laurel, Ground 

. Perserierance. 

Houstonia . 

. Content. 

Laurel, Mountain 

. Ambition. 

Hoya . 

. Sculpture. 

Laurel-leavd. Magnolia Dignity. 

Hoyabella . 

. Contentment. 

Laurestina . 

. A toke$t. 

Humble Plant . 

. Despondency. 

Lavender . 

. Distrust. 

Hundred-leaved Rose 

. Dignity of mind. 

Leaves (dead) 

. Melaftc/toly, 


. Sport. Game. Play. 

Lemon . 

. . Zest. 

Hyacinth, Purple 

. Sorrowful. 

Lemon Blossoms 

. Fidelity itt love. 

Hyacinth, White. 

. Unobtrusive loveliness. 

Leschenaultia Splen- 

Hydrangea . 

. A boaster. 

dens . 

. You are charming. 

Hyssop . . 

. Cleanliness. 


. Cold-heartedness. 

Lichen . 

. Dejection. Solitude. 

Lilac, Field . 

• . Humility. 

X Ice Plant 

. Health. 

Lilac, Purple 

. First emotions of love. 

, Your looks freeze me. 

Lilac, White 

. Youthful innocence. 

Imbricata . 

, Uprightness. Senti- 

Lily, Day . 

. Coquetry. 

ments of honour. 

Lily, Imperial 

. I^ajesty. 

Imperial Montague 

. Power. 

Lily. White . 

. Purity. Sweetness. 

The Vocabulary. 


Uly, Yellow 

, Falsefwod. Gaiety. 

Moschatel . 

. IVeakness. 

Uly of the Valley 

. Return of Jiappifuss. 

Moss . 

. Matemallaoe, 



. Eunui. 

Linden or Lime Trees 

. Conjugal love. 

Mossy Saxifrage . 

. Affection. 


. I /eel my obligations. 

Motherwort . 

. Concealed lave. 

Live Oak . 

. Liberty. 

Mountain Ash 

. Prudence. 


. Cofifidence. 

Mourning Bride . 

. Unfortunate attarfv- 

Liquorice, Wild . 

. I eieclare against yox. 

7nent. I/iave lostalC 


. Malevolence. 

Mouse-eared Chick 

Locust Tree. 

. Elegance. 

weed . 

. Ingenuous simplicity. 

Locust Tree (green) 

. Affection beyond tkt 

Mouse-eared Scorpion 



. For^et-me-Hot. 

. Agitation. 

. Happitiess. TranauiL 

London Pride 

. Frivolity. 

Moving Plant 

Lote Tree . 

. Concord. 

Mud wort 

Lotus , 

. Eloquence. 

lity. ^ 

Lotus Flower 

. Estranged love. 

Mulberry Tree, Black 

. I sliall 7wt sttrviveyoM. 

Lotus Leaf . 

. Recantation. 

Mulberry Tree, White 


Love in a Mist 

. Perplexity. 

Mushroom . 

. Suspicion; or, I cujt'l 

Love lies Bleeding 

. Hopeless, not keartUss. 

entirely trust you. 


. Life. 

Musk Plant . 

. Weahfiess. 

Lupia . 

. Voraciousness. 

Mustard Seed , 

. Indifference, 


. Privation. 

Myrrh . 

. Gladness. 

iVX Magnolia . 

. Calumny. 

MyrUe. . . 

. Lave. 

. Love of nature. Mag- 


Magnolia, Swamp 

Mallow, Marsh . 
Mallow, Syrian . 
Mallow, Venetian 
Malon Creeana . 

, Perseverance. 

, Mild f less. 

. Beneficence. 

. Consumed by loz'e. 

. Delicate beauty. 

, WillyoH sliare my for- 

tuttes ? 
. Faisekood. 
. Horror. 
. Reserve. 
. Hope for better days. 

i\l Nasturtium 
Nemophila . 
Nettle, Common Sting 

ing . 
Nettle, Burring . 

. Egotism. 

, Patriotism. 

. Success everyivnrre. 

You are spite/ul. 
. S. ander. 

Manchincai Tree . 
Mandrake . 
Maple . 
Marianthus . 

Nettle Tree . . .C *nceit. 
Night-blooming Cereus Trafisient beauty. 
Night Convolvulus - Night. 
Nightshade . . . Falsehood 


Marygold, African 

. Vulgar initids. 

Marygold, French 

. fealousy. 

i^AK Ixraves . 
\J Oak Tree . 


Marygold, Prophetic 

. Prediction. 

. Hospitality. 

Marygold and Cypress Despair. 

Oak, White 



. Blushes. 

Oats . 

. The witching soul ot 

Marvel of Peru . 

, Timidity. 


Meadow Lychnis. 

. Wit. 


. Betuare. 

Meadow Saffron . 

, My best diys are past. 

Olive . 



. Uselesstiess. 

Orange Blossoms. 

. Your purity equals 


. Goodness. 

your tovelincss. 


. Idleness. 

Orange Flowera . 

. Chastity. BridcUfe*- 


. Desire to please. 


Michaelmas Daisy 

. After-t/iou^ht. 

Orange Tree 

' Generosity. 

Mignonette . 

. Your qitalities surpass 

Orchis . 

. A belle 

your cliarnis. 

Osier . 

. Franknesi. 

Milfoil . . . 

. War. 


. Dreams. 

Milkvetch . 

. Your presence softens 
my pains. 

Ox Eye 

. Patience. 


. Hermitage. 

Mimosa (Sensitive Pit) Semitivettess. 

r)ALM . . 

r Pansy 

. Victory 

Mint . 

. Virtue. 

. TIwHghts. 

Mistletoe . 

. J surmount difficulties. 


. Festivity. 

Mitraria Coccinea 

. Indoleftce. Dulness. 

Pasc^ue Flower . 

. You /lave tto claims. 

Mock Orange 

. Counterfeit. 

Passion Flower . 

. Religious superstiticm, 
vohen the flaiver u 

MonardaAmplexicauUs Your ivhims are quite 


reversed, or Fauh if 

Monkshood . 

. A deadly foe is near. 


Monkshood (Helmet Chivalry. Knight- 

Patience Dock 

. Patience. 

Flower) . 

Pea, Everlasting . 

. An appointed nuetin^. 

Moon wort 

. Forgetfulttess. 

Lasting pleasure. 

Aloroing Glory . 

. Affectation. 

Pea, Sweet 



The Vocabulary. 

Peach . 

Peach Blossom 



Penstemon Azurcum 
Pennyroyal . 
Peony . 
Peppermint . 
Periwinkle, Blue . 
Periwinkle, White 
Persicaria . 

Peruvian Heliotrope 

Pheasant's Eye . 
Phlox . 
Pigeon Berry 
Pimpernel . 
Pine . 
Pine, Pitch . 
Pine, Spruce 
Pink . 

Pink, Carnation . 
Pink, Indian, Double 
Pink, Indian, Single 
Pink, Mountain . 
Pink, Red, Double 
Pink, Single . 
Pink, Variegated . 
Pink, White. 
Plane Tree . 
Plum, Indian 
Plum Tree 
Plum, Wild . 
Plumbago Larpcnta 
Polyanthus . 
Polyanthus, Crimson 
Polyanthus, Lilac 
Pomegranate Flower 
Poor Robin . 

Poplar, Black 
Poplar, White 
Poppy, Red . 
Poppy, Scarlet , 

Poppy, White 
Potato . 

Fotentilla . 

Brickly Pear 
Pride of China . 

Primrose, Evening 
Primrose, Red 
Privet . 
Purple Clover 
Pyrus Japonica . 

Quamoclil . . Busybody. 

. Your qualities, like 
your ckarins, are un- 

. 1 am your captive. 

. Affection. 

. Comfort. 

. High-bred. 

. Flee away. 

. Skame. Bashfulness. 
Warmth of feeling. 

. Early Jriendship. 

. Pleasures of meviory. 

. Restoration. 

. Bury me amid Nature's 

. Devotion. 

. Your presence soothes 

. Remembrance . 

. Unanimity. 

. Indifference. 

. Change. Assigtuttion. 

. J'ity. 

. You are perfect. 

. Philosophy. 

. Hope in adversity. 

. Boldness. 

. Woman's love. 

. Always lovely, 

, Aversion. 

. Aspiring. 

. Pure and ardent' lat'e. 

. Pure love. 

. Refusal. 

. Ingeniousness. Talent. 

. White man's footsteps. 

. Genius. 

. Privation. 

. Fidelity. 

. Itidependence. 

. Holy •wishes. 

. Pride of riches. 

. The heart's mystery. 

. Confidence. 

. Foolishness. 

. Mature elegance. 

. Compensation^ or an 

. Courage. 

. Time. 

. Consolation. 

. Fantastic extrava- 

. Sleep. My bane. 

. Benevolence. 

. / dainty at leasts your 

. Satire. 

. Dissension. 

. Early youth and sad- 

. Inconstancy. 

. Unpatronized merit. 

. Prohibition. 

. Provident. 

. Fairies' fire. 

Queen's Rocket 
Quincs . 

. You are the queen ef 

coqitettes. Fashion.. 
. Temptation. 




Ranunculus, Garden 

Ranunculus, Wild 
Raspberry . 
Ray Grass . 
Red Catchfiy 
Reed . 
Reed, Split . 
Rhododendron (Rose- 
bay) . 
Rose, Austrian 

Rose, Bridal 
Rose, Burgundy 
Rose, Cabbage 
Rose, Campion 
Rose, Carolina 
Rose, China 
Rose, Christmas 

Rose, Daily 

Rose, Damask 

Rose, Deep Red 

Rose, Dog . 

Rose, Guelder 

Rose, Hundred -leaved. 

Rose, Japan 

Rose, Maiden-biush . 

Rose, Monttflora . 

Rose, Mundi 

Rose, Musk , 

Rose, Musk, Cluster , 

Rose, Single 

Rose, Thornless . 

Rose, Unique 

Rose, White . 

Rose, White (withered) 

Rose, Yellow 

Rose, York & Lancaster 
Rose, FU.-blwn., placed 

over two Buds . 
Rose, White and Red 

together . 
Roses, Crown of 
Rosebud, Red 
Rosebud, White 
Rosebud, Moss 
Rose Leaf . 
Rosemary . 
Rudbeckia . 
Rue . 
Rush . 
Rye Grass . 


You are radiant with 

You are rich in attrac- 




Youthful love. 
Complaisance. Miisic. 

Danger. Beware. 




Thou art all that is 

Happy love. 

Uncottscions beauty. 

A mbassador of ioi^e. 

Only deserve my love. 

Love is dangerous. 

Beauty alivays neiv. 

Tranquillize my mnjci- 

Thy smile I aspire to. 

Brilliant complexion. 

Bashful shame. 

Pleasure and pain. 

Winter. Age. 


Beauty is your only at- 

If you love me you iviil 
find it out. 



Capricious beauty. 



Early attachment. 

Call tne twt beautiful. 

I am worthy of yon. 

Transient impression:. 

Decrease of love. 




Reward ofviriut. 

Pure and lovely 


Confession of loim. 

You may hope. 





Changeable dispositi4m. 

The Vocabulary. 


Saffron Crocus . 
Saffron^ Meadow 

Sage . . . . 
Sage, Garden 

Saint John's Wort 
Salvia, Blue 
Salvia, Red . 
Saxifrage, Mossy 

Scabious, Sweet . 
Scarlet Lychnis . 
Scotch Fir . 
Sensitive Plant . 
Senvy - . . . 
Shamrock . . . 
Shepherd's Purse 
Snakesfoot . 
Snapdragon . . 
Snowball . . 
Snowdrop . . 
Sorrel . . , . 
Sorrel, Wild . 
Sorrel, Wood 
Spanish Jasmine . 
Spearmint . . 
Speedwell . 
Speedwell, German- 
der . . . 
Speedwell, Spiked 
Spider Ophrys 
Spiderwort . 
Spiked Willow Herb . 
Spindle Tree 

Star of Bethlehem 

Starwort, American 
Stephanotis . 

St. John's Wort , 
Stock . . . . 
Stock, Ten-week . 
Straw (broken) . 
Straw (whole) 
Strawberry Blossoms . 
Strawberry Tree . 
Sultan, Lilac . 
Sultan, White 
Sultan, Yellow 
Sumach, Venice . 
Sunflower, Dwarf 
Sunflower, Tall . 

Sweet Basil . 
Sweetbriar, American . 
Swcetbriar, European . 
Sweetbriar, Yellow 
Sweet Pea . 
Sweet Sultan 
Sweet William 
Sycamore ■ 

Beware of excess. 


My happiest days are 

Domestic virtue. 
Unfortunate lane. 
Sunbeaining eye'. 
Religions enthiisiastn. 
L igh t-hea rtedness. 
I offer yon my all. 
Resolved to be noticed. 

Presumptioritalso *No.' 
Wit ill-timed. 

fest. Bantering. 
Warmth of sentiment. 
Female fidelity. 




Esteem, not love. 


Your charms are en- 
graven on my heart. 


After-thongh t. 

CKcerfulness in old age. 

Will you accompany me 
^ the East f 


Lasting beauty. 



Rupture oja contract. 



Esteem^ not love, 

I forgive you. 





Haughtiness, False 

Cure for heartache.. 

Good -wishes. 


J wmtnd to heal. 

Decrease of love. 

Delicate pleasures. 


Gallantry. Dexterity. 


Syringa , , 
Syringa, C^oHna 

. Memory. Fratemai 

. Disappointment. 

Tansy, Wild 

Te-»sel .... 

Tendrils of Climbing 

Thistle, Cktmmon 

Thistle, Fuller's 
Thistle, Scotch 
Thorn Apple 
Thorn, Branch of 
Thrift . 
T'hroatwort . 
Tiger Flower 

Traveller's Joy 
Tree of Life 
Trefoil . 
Tremella Nestoc 
Trillium Pictum 
Triptilion Spinosu: 
Truffle . 
Trumpet Flower 
Tulip, Red . 
Tulip, Variegated 
Tulip^ Yellow 
Turnip . 

Tussilage, Sweet- 
ed . . 


Valerian, Greek 
Venice Sumach 

Venus'sCar . 

Venus's Looking-j 
Venus's Trap 
Verbena, Pink 
Verbena, Scarlet 

Verbena, White 

Vernal Grass 


Veronica Speciosa 



Violet, Blue . 

Violet, Dame 

Violet, Sweet 

Violet, Yellow 

Virginia Creeper 

Virgin's Bower 
Viscaria Oculata 

Volkamenia . 

VV Wallflower 


I declare war againsi 


, Austerity. Indefen- 

. MisafithroPy. 
. Retaliation. 
. Deceitful clutrjns. 
. Severity. 
. Sympathy. 
. Neglected beauty. 
. Activity or Courage. 
. For once may pride be- 
friend tne. 
. Safety. 
. Old age, 
. Revefige. 
. Resistattce. 
. Modest beauty. 
. Be prudent. 
. Surprise. 
. Fame. 

. Dangerous pleasures. 
. Declaration of love. 
. Beautiful eyes, 
. Hopeless love. 
. Charity. 
- Justice shall be done 


. An accommodating dis- 

. Rupture. 

, Ijitellectual excellence. 

. Fly -with me. 

. Flattery. 

. Decrit. 

, Family union, 

. Unite against evil, or 
Church unity. 

. Pray for me. 

. Poor, but happy.. 

. Fidelity. 

. Keep this for my sake. 

. Efichautmejtt. 

. Jnioxicatio?i. 

. Faithfulness. 

. Watchfulness. 

. Modesty. 

, Rural happiness. 

. I cling to you both in 
sunshine and shade. 

. Filial love. 

. Will you d^ncE tuifh 

. May you be happy. 

, Intellect. Stratagem, 
. Fidelity in adversity. 

. 354 

.Watcher by the Way side 
Water-Lily . 
Wax Plant . 
Wheat Stalk 
Whin . 
White Flytrap 
White Jasmine 
White Lily . 
White Mullein 
White Oak 
White Pink . 
White Poplar 
White Rose (drie«i) 

Willow, Creeping. 
Willow, Water 
Willow, Weeping . 
WiUow Herb 

The Vocabulary. 


Never despair. 

Willow, French 

, Bravery andhumanity. 

Piirii^ of heart. 

Winter Cherry 

, DeceptioJi. 



. Welcome yf air stranger. 


Witch Hazel 

. A spell. 


Woodbine . 

. Fratertinl love. 


Wood Sorrel 

. Joy. Maternal tender • 



A niiablenes!; 

Wormwood . 

. Absence. 

Purity ami modesty. 



./V Xeranthemum 

. Rudeness, Pertinacity. 


. Cheerfulness under ad- 



Death preferable to loss 

of innocence. 

yEw . . 

. Sorrow. 

Love forsaken. 


■VEPHYR Flower 
L^ Zinnia . 

. Expectation. 


. Thoughts of absetU 

Pretensii n. 



i9art tfje SccanB. 

Abuse not . 
Activity or Courage 
A deadly foe is near 

Advice .... 
Affection beyond tlie 

Affectation . 

Age . . . . 

Alas! for my poor heart 
Always cheerful . • 
Alway? delighrful 
Always lovely 
Ambassador of Love . 
Amiability . 
Anger . , . . 
Anj;er _. . . . 
Annnosity . 
Anxious and trembling. 
Ardour, Ze/*J 



Ca?iterbiiry Bell. 



A methyst. 

Divarf Sunflowf'r, 

Spider Ophryi. 



Mossy Saxtj7'agr. 



Green Loctui. 


Cockscomb Amaranih. 

Morni7tg Glory. 

Black Poplar. 

Micliaelmas JT-aisy. 


China Aster. 


Guelder Rose. 

Moving Plant. 


Deep Red Cartiation. 



Indian Pink (double). 

Cabbage Rose. 




St. John's Wort 


Red Columbine. 

Cuckoo Plant. Afittn. 




Assiduous to please 






. CUinaiis. 

. Sprig of ivy, with ien- 

. Pin^emel. [drils. 

. Imiian Jasmine. 

. Larch. 

. Scarlet Auricula. 

. Chain or Indian Pink. 


Piashfulness . 

Bashfu.1 shame 

Ee pnKicnt . 

Pe w-rned in time 

Beautiful eyes 

Beauty . . . . 

Beauty always new 

Beauty, Capricious 

Beauty, Capricious 

Beauty, Delicate . 

Beauty, Delicate . 

Beauty, Divine . 

Beauty, Glorious . 

Beauty, Lasting . 

Beauty, Magnificent . 

Beauty, Mental . 

Beauty, Modest . 

Beauty, Neglected 

Beauty, Pensive . 

Beauty, Rustic . 

Beauty, Unconscious . 
; Beauty is your only at- 
I traction 

Belle . 

Be mine . • 

Beneficence . 


Betrayed , 


Dodder of Thyine. 


Deep Red Rose. 

Triptilion Spinosum. ■ 

Echites A iro-pu r/m rea. 

Variegated Tulip. 

Parti-coloured Daisy. 

China Rose. 

Lady's Slipper. 

Musk Rose. 

Floiver of an hour. 


A merlcan Co^vslip. 

Glory Flower. 


Calla ^thiopica. 


Trilliiini Pictuin. 



French HoneysitckU. 

Burgundy Rose. 

Japan Rose, 


P'our-leaved Clo7'e^. 



White Catchfly, 

The Vocabulary. 




Death . 




Death preferable to loss 

lieware of a false friend Fraitcisca Laiifoiia. \ 

of innocence 

White Rose (dHed). 

Bitterness . 


Deceit . 

. Apocynnm. 


Ebony Tree. 

Deceit . 

. White Flytrap. 



Deceit . 

. Dogsbane. 



Deceit . 

. Geranium. 



Deceitful charms . 

. Apple, Tliom. 



Deception . 

. White Cherry Tre^ 

Bonds . 


Declaration of love 

. Red Tulip. 

Bonds of affection 


Decrease of love . 

. Yellom Rose. 


Oak Leaues. 

Deformed . 

. Begonia. 

Bravery and humanity 

French l^'illoto. 


. Llc/UH. 

Bridal favour 

. Ivy Geranium. 

Delay . 

. Euf/uiorinnt. 

Brilliant complexion 

Damask Rose. 


. Blnebottle. Centaury. 


. Water-Melon. 


. Cornfloitier. 

Bulk . 

. Gourd. 

Depart . 

. Dandelion Seeds in tlu 

Busybody . 

. Qnamoclit. 


Bury me amid Nature' 


Desire to please . 

. yfezereon. 


, Persinion. 


. Cypress. 

Despair not, God 


CALL me not beau- 
tiful . . . Rose, Unique. 
Calm repose . . . Bitckbean. 
Calumny . . . Hellebore. 
Calumny . . . Madder. 
Change . . . Pimpernel. 

Changeable disposition. Rye Grass. 
Charity . . Turnip. 

Charming . . . Cluster of Musk Roses. 
Charms, Deceitftil . Thorii Apple. 
Cheerfulness. . - Saffron Croats. 
Cheerfulness in old age A merican Stamvort. 
Cheerfulness under ad- Chinese Chrysajiihe- 
versity . . . mum. 

. Monkshood. 

. Hyssop. 

, Lettuce 

. Agnus Castu*, 

. Coral Honeysuckle. 

, yacob's Ladder. 

. Pear Tree. 

. Scarlet Geranium. 

. Allspice. 

Cleanliness . 
Cold-hearted jiess . 

Colour of my life . 
Come down . 
Comforting . 
Compassion . 
Concealed love 

Confession of love 
Confidence . 
Confidence . 
Confidence . 
Confidence in Heaven 
Conjugal love 
Consolation . 
Constancy . 
Consumed by love 

. Motherwort. 

. Nettle Tree. 

. Lote Tree. 

. Moss Rosebud. 

. Hepatica. 

. Lilac Polyanthus. 

. Liverwort. 

. Flowering Reed. 

. Lime or Linden Tree. 

. Red Poppy. 

. Bluebell. 

. Syrian Mallow. 

. Hoyahella. 

Could you bearpoverty ? Browallia yamisonii. 



Crime . 


Cure for heartache 


. Mock Orange. 
. Black Poplar. 
. Tamarisk. 
. Balm of Gilead, 
. Sivalloiv-wort. 
, Sycamore. 

DANGER - Rltododendron. 

Dangerous pleasures Tuberose. 

Devotion, or, I turn to 

thee . 

Disappointment . 




Dissension . 



Divine beauty 

Docility _ . 

Domestic industry 

Domestic virtue . 

Do not despise my 

Do not refuse me . 

Doubt . 



W/dte yulienne. 
Humble Plant. 

Peruvian Heliotrope. 
Siveet William. 

Laureldeaved Magno- 
Syringa, Carolina. 
Yellow Carnation. 

Frog Opkrys. 
Pride of China. 
Cardinal Flmuer. 
A merican Cowslip. 

.Shepherd's Purse. 
Fscholzia , or Ca rroi 

Apricot Blossom. 
Cornel Tree, 

EARLY attachment 
Early friendship 
Early youth . 

Elegance and grace 
Eloquence . 

Energy in adversity 
Envy . 

Error . . . . 
Error . . . . 

Esteem . 

Esteem, not love . 
Esteem, not love . 
Estranged love 

Tkomless Rose. 
Blue PeriwiidcU. 
Locust Tree. 
Yelloiv yasmifie. 
Scotch Fir. 
Lagerstramia, hid. 
Holly Herb. 
Red Salvia^ 
Bee Orchis, 
Fly Orchis. 
Garden Sage. 
Strawberry Tree. 
Lotus Flower. 
Camellia yaponica. 


The Vocabulary. 

Expectation , 
Expectation . 
Expected meeting 
Extent , 
Extinguished hopes 

Fairies' fire. 
Faithfulness . 
Falsehood . 

Falsehood . 
Falsehood . 
False riches . 

. Anemone, 

. Zephyr Flower. 

. Nttimeg Geraniutn. 

. Gourd. 

. Major Convolvultit. 

. Germander Speedwell. 
, Pyrus Japontca. 
. Blue Violet. 
. Heliotrope. 
. Bugloss. Deadly Night- 
. Yellow Lily. 
. Manchiueal Tree. 
. Tall Sunflower. 
. Tulip. 

Fame speaks him great 

and good . , . Apple Blossom. 
Family union . . Pink Verbena. 
Fantastic extravagance Scarlet Poppy. 


Fascination . 

Fascination . 


Fecundity . 


Female fidelity . 


Fickleness . 


^Uial love . 



Fidelity in adversity 

Fidelity in love 


. Michaelmas Daisy. 
. Fern. 
. Honesty. 
. Queen's Rocktt, 
. Hollyhock. 
. Siveet Sultan, 
. Speedwell. 
. Parsley. 
. Abatina. 
. Pi?ik Larkspur^ 
. Virgin' s-bower. 
, Veronica. Ivy. 
. Plum Tree. 
. Wallflower. 
. Levton Blossoms. 

First emotions of love . Purple Lilac. 

Flee away , 
Fly with me . 
Folly . 
Forgetful nefvs 
Forget me not 

Fleur-de-lis. Iris. 
, Venus s Looking-glass. 
. Pennyroyal. 
. Venus' s Car. 
, Cobnnbitie. 
. Cockscomb. Amaranth. 
. Pcmegranate. 
. Holly. 
. Moonwort. 
. Forget-me-not. 

For on ce m ay pride 

befriend me . 
Forsaken . , 
Forsaken . . 
Fragrance . 
Frankness . . 
Fraternal love 
Fraternal sympathy 

Freshness . . 
Friendship . 
Friendship, early . 
Friendship, true . 

Friendship, unchanging Arbor Vitee. 
Frivolity . , . London Pride. 
Frugality . . . Chicory. Endive. 

Tiger Flower. 

Garden Anemone. 


Difiteracnntkus Specta- 

Camphire, {bills. 




Water Willow, 

Damask Rose, 

Acacia. Ivy. 

Blue Periwinkle. 

Oak-leaved Geraniutn, 


. Butterfly Orchis. 
. Yelloiv Lily. 
. Sijueet William. 

Generosity , 
Generous and devoted 

Genius .... 
Give me your good 


Glory . . . , 
Glory. Immortality . 
Glorious beauty . 
Good education . 
Good wishes. 
Gossip . . . . 
Grace . . , . 
Grace and elegance 

Grief . , . . 
Grief . , . . 

Orange Tree. 

French Honeysncfcie. 
Plane Tree. 
Com Cockle. 
White Rosebud. 

Sweet BasiL 




Glory Flower. 

Bonus HenricuM. 


Cherry Tree. 

Sweet Basil. 

White Mullein, 


Multiflora Rose. 

Yellow Jasmine. 

Ash Tree. 

Small White Bellflw 


Mary gold. 

HAPPY love 
Health . 
Hermitage . 
Hidden worth 
High-bred . 
Holy wishes. 

Hope . . , . 
Hope . . , . 
Hope . . . . 
Hope in adversity 
Hopeless love 
Hopeless, not heartless 
Horror . 
Horror . . 
Hospitality , 
Humility . 
Humility . 
Humility • 

Bridal Rose. 


Purple Larksp7ir. 

Tall Sunflo7ver. 

Iceland Moss. 



Pentstettton Azureufn. 

Plumbago Larpenta. 


Flowering A Itnond. 



Spruce Pine. 

Yellow Tulip. 

Love lies bleediiig. 




Oak Tree. 


Bindweed, SmalL 

Field Lilac. 

I AM too happy 
I am your captive. 

I am worthy of you 

I change but in death . 

I claim at least your es- 
teem .... 

I dare not , 

I declare against you . 

I declare against you . 

I declare war against 
you .... 

I die if neglected . 

I desire a return of af- 

I feel my obligations . 

I feel your kindness 

I have lost all . , 

I live for ihee . . 

Cape yasmin-e. 
Peach BlossotH. 
White Rose. 
Bay Leaf. 

Veronica Speciosa. 

Wild Tansy, 


Mourning Bridie 
Ceaar Lea/. 

The Vocabulary. 


Hove . 

. Red Chrysanthemum. 

X-/ Lasting beauty 

. Aspen Tree. 

I offer you my all 

. Shepherd's Purse. 

. Stock. 

I offer you my fortune. 

Lasting pleasures . 

. Everlasting Pea. 

or, I offer you pecu- 

Let me go 

. Butterfly Weed. 

niary aid . 

. Calceolaria. 

Levity . 

, Larkspur. 

I share your sentiments Double Cltina Aster. 


. Live Oak. 

I share your sentiments Garden Daisy. 

Life . . . 

, Lncern, 

I shall die to-moirow . Gum Cisttts. 

Light-heart edn ess 

, Sluiiurock. 

I shall not survive 


, Larkspur. 

I surmount difficulties . Mistletoe. 

Live for me . 

. Arbor Vita. 

1 watch over you 

. Mountain Ask. 

Love . 

, MyHU. 

I weep for you 

. Purfile Verbena. 

Love . 

, Rose. 

I will think of it 

. Single C/tina Aster. 

Love, forsaken . 

. Creeping WUUrm. 
. Ambrosia. 

I will think of it 

. Wild Daisy. 

Love, returned . 

I wound to heal 

. Rglantine. Siveetbriar. 

Love is dangerous 

. Carolina Rose. 

If you love me, you will 

Love for all seasons 

. Furze. 

find it out . 

. Maiden Blush Rose. 

Lustre . 

. Aconite-leaved Crom- 


. Mesembryantlumum. 

foot, or Fair Maid ejp 

1 ll-nature 

, Crab Blossotn. 


] tl-natured beauty . CitroK. 


. Chestnut Tre^ 

Imagination . 

, Lupine. 

Immortality . 

. Amaranth^ Globe. 

Impatience . 

. Yellow Balsam. 


Impatient of absence . Corchorus. 


Impatient res jlves . Red Balsam. 

Magnificent beauty 

. Calla Mthiapica. 

\ mperfection. 

, Henbane. 


. Crown Imperial. 

Importunity . 

. Burdock. 

Make haste . 

. Dianthus. 

Inconstancy . 

, Evening Primrose. 


, Lobelia, 


. Cedar o/ Lebanon, 

Marriage , _ , 



, Common Thistle. 

Maternal affection 

. Cinquefoil. 


. Wild Plum Tree. 

Maternal love 

. Moss. 


. White Oak. 

Maternal tenderness 

. Wood Sorrel. 

Indifference . 

. Candytuft, Ever- 

Matrimony . 

. American Linden^ 


Matronly grace , 

, Cattleya. 

Indifference . 

. Mustard Seed. 

Mature charms . 

, Cattleya Pinsli. 

Indifference . 

. Pigeon Berry. 

May you be happy 

. Volkamenia. 

Indifference . 

, , Senvy. 


, Cuscnta. 

. split Reed. 

Meekness . 

. Birch. 

Indolence . 

. Mittraria Coccinea. 

Melancholy . 

. Autu7/iual LeaveM. 


. Red Clover. 

Melancholy . 

, Dark Geranium. 

Industry, Domestic . Flax. 

Melancholy . • 

. Dead Leaves, 


. W/iite Pink. 

Mental beauty 

, Clematis. 


. Pejicilled Geranium. 

Mental beauty . 

. Kentiedia. 

Ingenuous simplicity . Moiise-earedChichweed 


, Iris. 

Ingratitude . 

. Crowfoot. 

Mildness . 

. Malloiv. 

Innocence . 

. Daisy. 

Mirth . 

. Saffron Croats. 

Insincerity . 

. Foxglove. 

Misanthropy. • 

. Aconite (Wolfsbanef. 

Insinuation . 

. Great Bifldiveed, 


. Fuller's Teazle. 

Inspiration . 

. Angelica. 

Modest beauty . 

. Trillium Pictutn, 

Instability . 

. Dahlia. 

Modest genius . 

. Creeping C<reus. 


. Walnut. 


. Violet. 

Intoxication . 

, Vi7te. 

Modesty and purity 

. White Litj^ 

Irony . 

, Sardony. 

Momentary happiness 

. Virginian .^1>idervfort. 


. Weeping Willow. 

Music . 

. Bundles of Reed with 


, French Marygold, 

their Panicles. 

1 Jealousy 

. Yellow Rose. 

My best days are past 

, Colcki^um^ orMiodow 


. Soutlientwood. 


>y . 

, loys to come 

. Wood Sorrel. 

My regrets follow you 

Lesser Celandine. 

to the grave 

. Asphodel, 

] 'ustice . 

. Rudbeckia. 

■ ustice shall be dc 
you . 

ne to 

. Coltsfoot, or Sweet- 
sce?ited Tussilage. 

i\ Neglected beauty Tkroatwort 

Never-ceasing remem 

JN.. Kindness 

omise Petunia. 

, Scarlet Geranium. 

Never despair 

. Everlasting. 

. Watcher by ike Way- 

Knight-errantry . 

. Helmet Flower(Monks- 

No . . . 

, Snapdragotg. 


The Vocabulary. 

V_y Only deserve m 

. Tree ef Life. 

Regret . 

. Purple Verbena. ■'• ' 


Relief . 

. Balm ofCilead. 


. Campion Rose. 

Relieve my anxiety 

. Christmas Rose. 

Religious superstition 

. Aloe. 

Religious superstition 


pAINFUL recollec- 

or Faith 

, Passion Flo^ver. 

± tions . 

. Flos Adonis. 

Religious enthusiasm 

. Schinus. 


. Auriaila. 


, Rosemary. 

Painting the lily 

. Daphne Odora. 


. Bramble. 


. IVhtie Dittany. 


. Raspberry. 

Paternal error 

. Cardainine. 

Rendezvous . 

. Chickweed. 


. Dock. Ox-eye. 


. Maple. 

Patriotism . 

. A mericafi Elm. 

Resistance . 

Tremella Nesfoc. 

Patriotism . 

. Nasturtium. 

_ Resolved to be noticed 


Peace . 

. Olive. 

Restoration . 

. Persicaria. 

Perfected loveliness 

. Camellia Japonica. 

Retaliation . 

. Scotch Thistle. 


Return of happiness 

. Lily of tJte Valley. 


. Common Laurel, in 


. Birdsfooi Trefoil. 



, Flowering Fern. 

Pensive beauty . 

. Lndumum. 

Reward of merit , 

. Bay Wreath. 


. Love in a Mist. 

Reward of virtue . 

. Garland of Roses. 

Persecution . 

. Chequered Frittllary. 

Riches . 

. Com. 


. Sivamp Magnolia. 

Riches . 

. Butteraips. 


. Althea Frutex. 

Rigour . 

. Lantana. 

Persuasion . 

. Syrian Mallow. 



Pertinacity . 

. Cloibur. 


. Clotbur. 

Pity . . . 

. P'ine, also Andromeda. 



Pleasure and pain 

. Dog Rose. 

Rural happiness . 

. Yellow Violet. 

Pleasure, lasting . 

. Everlasting Pea. 

Rustic beauty 

. French HoneysuckU. 

Pleasures of memory 

. White rc^iivJiii-'le. 

Rustic oracle 

. Dandelion. 

Pomp . 


Popular favour . 

. Cistus, or Rock Rose. 


. Evergreen Clematis. 

O Safety , 

. Dead Leaves. 

Power , 

. linpefial Montague. 

'J 'raveller's Joy. 

Power . 

. Cress. 

Satire . 

Prickly Pear. 

l^ray for mc . 

White Verbena. 



Precaution . 

. Golden Rod. 

Secret love . 

Yellow Acacia. 

Prediction . 

. Prophetic Marvgold. 

Semblance , 

spiked Speedwell 

Pretension . . 

. spiked Willo^v Herb. 



Pride . 

. Hundred-leaved Rose. 


Spanish fasmiiu. 

Pride . 

. Amaryllis, 

Separation . . 

Carolina Jasmine. 


. Indian Plum. 


Branch of T/torns. 


. Myrobalan. 

Shame , 


Profit . 

. Cabbage. 

Sharpness . 

Barberry Tree. 

Prohibition . 

. Ptivet. 


A nemojif (Zephyr Fir. , 

Prolific . 

. Fig Tree. 

Silent love . 

Evening Primrose. 

Promptness . 

. Ten-week Stock. 


Fool's Parsley. 

Prosperity . 

. Beech Tree. 

Simplicity . 

American Sweetbrinr. 

Protection . 

. Bearded Crepis. 


Garden Chervil. 


. Mountain Ash. 

Slighted love 

Yel. Chrysanthemum. 

l*ure love 

. Single Red Pink. 

Snare . 

Catckfly. Dragon Pltvi. 

Pure and ardent love 

. Double Red Pink, 



Pure and lovely . 

. Red Rosebttd. 

Sorrow . 


Purity , 

Star oj Bethlehem. 

Sourness of temper 


Spell . 


Spleen , 



Broken Corn-straw. 

Splendid beauty 

A marvllis. 

Vj Quicksightedness Hawkweed. 

Splendour . 



Fox-tail Grass, 

Steadfast piety 

Wild Geranium. 

Xv Reason 



Box Tree. 

Goat's Rue. 


Cedar. Fennel. 

Recantation . 

Lotus Leaf. 


Horseshoe-leaf Gera- 

Recall .^ A.^ . 

Silver-lvd. Geranium. 




Submission . 




Submission . 


Refinement .:■• 


Success everywhere 



Striped Carnation. 

Success crown your 

Jiegafd ■,-- . .• 




The Vocabulary. 



. Juniper. 

Unite against a common 

Such worth is rare 

. Achimejies. 

foe . . . 

. Scarlet Verbena. 

Sun-beaming eyes 

. Scarlet Lychnis. 

Unpatronized merit . Red Primrose. 

Superstition . 

. St. John's Wort. 

Unrequited love 

. Daffodil. 


. Tr^tffle. 

Uprightness . 

. Imbricata. 


. Wax Plant. 

Uselessness . 

. Meadowsweet. 


, Champignon. 

UtiUty . . 

. Grass. 

Sympathy . 

. Balm. 

Sympathy . 

. Thrift. 

V Variety 

. CfUna Aster. 

. Mundi Rose. 

X. Tardiness . 

, White Pink. 

Vice . . 

. Darjtel (Ray Grass f. 

. FUix.Ieaved Golden- 


.Paint. , , 


Virtue . 

.Mint. " ^ 

Taste . 

. Scarlet Pitchsia. 

Virtue, domestic 

. Sage. 

. Abecedary. 

Tears . 

. Helcnium. 

Volubility . 

Temperance . 

. Azalea. 


. Lupitte. 

Temptation . 

. Afp/e. 

Vulgar minds 

. African Marygold. 


. Agrimony. 

The colour of my fate 

. Coral Honeysttckle. 

The heart's mystery 

. Crimson Polyanthus. 

The perfection of female 

Y^AR . 

. York and Lancaste 

loveliness . 

. Justicia. 


The witching soul of 

War . 

. Achillea Millefolia. 


. Oat*. 

Warlike trophy 

. Indian Cress. 

The variety of your 

Warmth of feeling 

. Peppermint. 

conversation delights 


. Dame Violet. 

me . . 



. Moscltatel. 

Thee only do I love 

. Arbutns. 

Weakness . 

. Musk Plant. 

There is no unalloyed 

Welcome, fair stranger Westeria. 

good . 

. Lapagenia Eosem. 

Welcome to a siiajiger Atnerican Star^art. 

Thoughts . 

. Pansy. 

Widowhood . 

. Sweet Scabious, 

Thoughts of absent 

Will you accompany me 



to the East ? 

. StepJianotis. 

Thy frown will kill me 


Will youdance with mc? Vucaria Oculata. 

Thy smile 1 aspire to 

. Daily Rose. 

Win me and wear me . Ladys Slipper. 

Ties . . . 

. Tendrils of Climbing 

Winning giw.e 

. CoivsUp. 


Winter . 

. Guelder Rose. 




, Blue Salvia. 


Mari'el of Peru. 

Wit . . . 

. Meadoiu Lychnis. 

Time . 

White Poplar. 

Wit, ill-timed 

. Wild Sorrel 

Tranquillity . 



, Encltanter's Night- 

Tranquillity . 



Tranquillize my anxiety Christmas Rose. 

Worth beyond beauty . Sweet Elysium. 

Transient beauty . 

Night-blooming Cereus 

Worth sustained 


Transient impressions 

Withered White Rose. 

judicious and tender 

Transport of joy . 

Cape Jasjnine. 

affection . 

. Pijtk Convohntlu*. 

Treachery . 


Worldliness, self-seek- 

True love 


ing . 

, Cuanthus. 

True friendship . 

Oak-leaved Ceranimn. 

Worthy of all praise . PemteL 

Truth . 


Truth . 

Wht. Chrysanthemum. 

\rOU are cold . 

. Hortensia. 

X You are my di- 

U Unbelief . 



. American Cowshf. 

Judas Tree. 

You are perfect . 

. Pineapple. 

Unceasing remem 

You are radiant 



A merican Cudweed. 

charms . 

. Ranunculus, 

Unchanging friendship 

Arbor Vita. 

You are rich in attrac- 

Unconscious beauty 

Burgittidy Rose. 

tion . 

. Garden Ranuncitnts. 

Unexpected meeting 

Lemon Geranium. 

You are the queen of 

Unfortunate attach 

coquettes . 

. Queen s Rocket. 

ment , 

Mourning Bride. 

You are charming 

. Lesclienaultia Splen 

Unfortunate love . 



Union .... 

W/wle Straw. 

You have no claims . Pasque Flmver. 

Unity . • 

White and Red Rose 

You have many lo 

/ers . Cltorozema Variuin. 


You please all 

. Branch of Currants. 


The Vocabulary. 

You J 

: too told . . Dipladenia Crassi- 
You will be my death , Hemlock, 
Your charms are en- 
graven on my heart . Spindle Tree, 
Your looks freeze me . Ice Plant, 
Your presence softens 

my pain . . . Milkveich. 
Your purity equals your 

loveliness . . . Orange-blossom*. 
Vour qualities, like your 

charms, are unequalled Peach. 
Your qualities surpass 
your chanins . Mignont ii*^ 

Your temper is too hasty Grammanthes Chhfo- 

Youthful beauty . , Cowslip. 
Youthful innocence . 14^'hile Lilac. 
Youthful love . . Red Catchfly. 
Your whims are un- 
bearable . . . Monarda Amplexi 

. Monarda 

Zest . . . Lettum, 



' ""n i ne— mT O ia t m^ijM